A few months back I did a post in the Wimps of the Bible category on the Rich Young Man. He came to Jesus seeking eternal life. Jesus first pointed out the obvious (Obey the commandments). But when the young man pressed further, Jesus told him “go and sell everything you have. Give the money to those who are poor…. Then come and follow me” (Matthew 19:21). This was more than he was willing to do and the young man went away sad.
Contrast that story with our recent focus on the woman at the well. She was so desperate and ready for what Jesus had to offer that she left her water pot at the well and went to tell the whole village about her encounter. She had no hesitation in accepting him.
It is interesting that these two characters are at opposite ends of the social spectrum. The young man was very wealthy (probably had some status as well), and had no desire to let go of these things. He was willing to do whatever it took as long as it didn’t cross the line and require him to part with the one thing he truly valued: his wealth. The woman, on the other hand, had nothing to lose. She was a social outcast, drawing water during the hottest time of the day so as to avoid her neighbors. She obviously was looking for something as evidenced by her numerous unsuccessful relationships.
I think when it comes to accepting Jesus’ unconditional love people at rock bottom are at an advantage. When you’re at the bottom, there is no place to go but up. When things are at the worst they could possibly be, the knowledge that Jesus loves and accepts you as you are can be the one thing that pulls you out of the darkness.
Contrast that with those of us who (supposedly) have it all together. We have a decent job, fairly healthy relationships, no glaringly bad or addictive habits…For people in that position it’s a lot harder to feel like you “need” what Jesus has to offer. Afterall, you’re doing pretty ok on your own. This “Jesus thing” gets messy. It is often tough. It can be inconvenient. It makes demands on you. It reminds you that you don’t have it all together. While you may look good on the outside, you’re just as messed up and undeserving as those people sitting at the bottom.