Well, its known as MOVE.
Within the business world ‘branding’ has now been brought to the forefront of strategy. It’s like establishing a logo to simply capture the essence of what the business is on about. Thus the change in the arthritis name.
People like making their mark in life.
A very controversial method is the graffiti practice of ‘Tagging’. It’s a case of leaving ones mark and moving on. As Jesus ministry slowly developed we might be able to speculate upon what his brand or even tag was. How did he leave his mark?
TEACHING AND HEALING
Our reading indicates his teaching was complemented by illustrations of the new life he spoke of.
Miracles were like his brand. He encountered people leaving his mark on them then moved on to leave his mark in the next village.
WOMAN AT THE WELL
Today we are reading the account of his meeting with the Samaritan village, but via his encounter with a woman from the village. The woman concerned was someone who had been marginalised from the bulk of the community, we gather because of her questionable moral behaviour.
Despite Jews and Samaritans and men and women not communing in public Jesus has no hesitation in asking her for aid in his request for a drink of water. Their ensuing conversation reveals that she has lived with five different men while Jesus ultimately reveals he is the Messiah and can offer another kind of water. A water like experience that is ultimately a symbol for the fullness of spiritual life, ‘A river of living water gushing up from ones inner being’, in his words.
This eternally nourishing spiritual water is the outcome of one embracing an attitude of truthfulness. She is so overwhelmed by his perception of who she really is, she perceives him as a prophet, and ultimately accepts him is the long-awaited Messiah. Without hesitation she hurriedly returns to the village to tell her good news to her villagers who have formerly rejected her.
There is much to reflect upon in this story. At its heart is something vitally important in terms of Jesus ‘tagging’ or ‘branding’.
This encounter moves away from his earlier work and opens new possibilities for a far more expansive understanding of his work.
The new life he has initially offered to those who were physically sick or incapacitated, perhaps with a physical deformity, is far from the extent of his field of influence.
This encounter is about the impact his life is to have upon peoples mental and social experience.
I recently bumped into an old school friend. In our conversation we shared some stories of our life.
He shared the story of a major tragedy he had encountered. It was virtually a head on collision with a truck that had jumped the central barrier of the freeway.
He ended up bed ridden for 6 months. He proceeded to tell me that the worst was not the physical pain he had to endure but the mental and social implications.
Twenty years ago was the accident but he still has flash backs of the collision. Socially he believes his protracted incapacity led to his wife leaving him for his business partner. The mental and social scares have effected him so deeply.
The story of Jesus encounter with the woman at the well crosses the boundary from the physical into the mental and social.
Jesus gospel brand concerns the totality of human experience.
This story also brings a further new insight to understanding the nature of his gospel brand. It is an insight not expected by the Jewish people.
They carried the belief that they were God’s chosen people from and they assumed that God had extra concern for them and little for others. Others were unclean. Samaritans were an unacceptable form of Judaism.
In this story Jesus is indicating that such boundaries between people are false, man-made. He sees all people as people.
He proceeds to teach that while there are differences in the way people live by describing the different worshipful practices between the two peoples, he is more concerned about the two qualities that unite people universally.
Those two qualities are spirit and truth. For Jesus, humans are essentially manifestations of Spirit.
The quality of that spirit is determined by the willingness to live in truth.
Do you recall his powerful teaching that it is truth that will set you free?
IN OUR DAY
In our day we are being challenged to ask some basic questions like never before. The globalising world is bringing a picture of the many different cultural racial groups clearly before us. Politically we are seeing a backlash against this. Many want to return to a protectionist and nationalist attitude.
The story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman as with the story of the good Samaritan, are challenging us with a universal vision.
Jesus brand of Gospel is a universal one and it seeks to touch all people yes body, but as we see in this story in mind and socially.
This universal vision of his mission stands importantly beside the notion of Jesus as the Universal Christ.
The revelation of the Divine within all creation.