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Firsthand Jive

John 4:39-42

Many of the Samaritans from that village committed themselves to him because of the woman’s witness: “He knew all about the things I did. He knows me inside and out!” They asked him to stay on, so Jesus stayed two days. A lot more people entrusted their lives to him when they heard what he had to say. They said to the woman, “We’re no longer taking this on your say-so. We’ve heard it for ourselves and know it for sure. He’s the Savior of the world!” — John 4:39-42, The Message

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I remember the first time that I heard the phrase, “Secondhand jive.” We were at church and our pastor used it. He was talking about how in the 70s when you heard something from someone else it was, “sechondhad jive.” He was arguing that we needed to have a “firsthand jive” faith. That is, a faith where we ourselves engage with the divine and not just hear about it from someone else.

As I read this passage this morning this was the phrase that popped into my head.

But I also noticed that before the people of this Samaritan village experienced “firsthand jive” they received the word of someone else. What is fascinating to me is that the person that they heard it from is not someone who would have been considered to be all that trustworthy.

What was it about her?

The only thing I can think of is that something about her changed.

It is the assumption of most that she was a person who was living in isolation from her community due to her life. We learn from her conversation with Jesus that she had multiple husbands and was living with a man not her husband at that time. She went to the well at the hottest part of the day to avoid others or because she was being shunned by them. Either way, after her interaction with Jesus she re-entered their community and pointed people to him.

Isn’t this what Jesus was always doing? Because of the grace and mercy and love that he offered, people were being reconciled to God, themselves, and also their communities. We see this in the healings that he performs as well. People with physical infirmities are able to become full participants in the community again.

When the Samaritan woman has her “firsthand jive” with Jesus she is changed. By her entering back into community others believe and go meet Jesus too. Then they have their own experience of “firsthand jive.”

Who was it that you knew that initially pointed you toward Jesus? For me, I think it was my Mimi and mom. Seeing their lived faith and how they loved people kept me in touch with my faith while it would have been easy to walk away. I am beyond grateful for them. Because of them, I now believe because of my own experience with the divine. So, who was it for you?

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