“A Cause of Scandal!” comes in many forms and can have many consequences for those who find themselves the protagonist of one and those who set about to try and avoid too many people finding out about it or to stop a potential one happening in the first place.
Our gospel today is soaked in the criteria of “A Cause of Scandal!” (1) A man on his own with a woman; (2) A Jew speaking to a Samaritan. (3) A woman who has had 5 husbands and the man she’s currently living with is not her husband. Her presence at the well on her own during the midday heat is in itself puzzling. Why then and why not at a cooler part of the day with the other women of the village? Why is she on her own? What’s going on?
But within a very short time, in a seeming chance encounter between two strangers, Jesus has crumbled her barriers of alienation and isolation. And the once ostracized woman races into her village and without fear and unashamedly declares that she has found the Messiah, Jesus, the man who knew everything about her life! They came to see Jesus for themselves and they believe no longer from what the woman said but from spending time with Jesus!
“A Cause of Scandal” becomes a disciple and announces the Kingdom of God to her fellow villagers. She evangelises. She is set free. She drinks the living water and shares it with others. No one is exempt from the Kingdom of God. There are no barriers that Jesus does and has not, torn down. If we are true disciples and are truly open to him, his words and his example, then we shouldn’t have barriers either and allow anyone to be cut off or ruled out from God’s loving, outstretched arms and care.