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Searching for Truth

A Navajo Vacation Bible School (VBS) group stopped overnight at our Denver, Colorado church basement as they headed northward to conduct a VBS on another Reservation. Of course, on their return trip home, our church broke bread with the weary VBS group and the leader shared their VBS experience with this writer.    

The leader said some of the kids came to the VBS with no shirts, shoes, and in tattered clothing demonstrating they came from meager impoverished homes. As seasoned Navajo teachers ourselves, we thought poverty at this level had pretty much been eradicated in the 1960s or before; however, this story occurred in the 21st century.

In addition, some children were unruly and were using foul language. This routine lasted for days; however, after three days the VBS youngsters started to settle down.  The leader thought that some children wanted to test their teachers’ limits because they didn’t receive common trust at home where innocence was lost.

The spiritual springs of pure water from Jesus himself was and is the water that saves us.

This VBS story reminded me of the Bible story about the woman at the well in which a Samaritan woman didn’t trust the Jews. However, this iconic story turned out to be a rich example of love, redemption, acceptance, and trust.

Here we find Jesus speaking to our souls and to our spiritual needs. The living water he referred to was not just plain water from a well that could one day be a dead well. The spiritual springs of pure water from Jesus himself was and is the water that saves us. His well is unlimited and always full. Jesus used the well water as an analogy to represent God's spring of life, given freely through Jesus’s death for our salvation.

The human tendency is to judge others because of stereotypes, or prejudices and bad histories like the Samaritan woman toward the Jews. Jesus treats people as individuals, accepting them with love and compassion. 

In the 19th century, Christian Europeans and Euro-Americans saw themselves as God’s special ambassadors to save the “heathens,” Indigenous people, and bring them into the “light” of Christianity or rather to make the heathens more like white Europeans.

Indigenous people were searching for supernatural living water not a linear western non-supernatural can of soda water

Indigenous people were befuddled by the people who spoke of this Living Water but didn’t actually practice this salvific revelation with human beings in their humanity, mainly Indigenous people. Rather than speaking life giving words, it brought intolerance into the conversation about their dances and ceremonies. 

However, we read in Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” signifying that Indigenous people were searching for eternity in their hearts and truth from the heavenly realm before Europeans came to the Americas.   

And Indigenous people were searching for supernatural living water not a linear western non-supernatural can of soda water; Jesus is offering us a supernatural living water converging both archetypes of Indigenous worldviews rather than shallow, bitter water of American Manifest Destiny.But this world’s well water can become tainted with sins that spread disorder and chaos in churches, religions, and even Indigenous people’s ceremonies.  

Do you disdain certain people or cultural practices as a lost cause, or do you see them as valued and worthy of knowing the gospel?

If we are to give them the spring of water that wells up to eternal life, we must be like Jesus when talking to the woman at the well or like the VBS teachers who didn’t quarrel but exercised patience. Let’s not be impertinent, which allows for more easy acceptance of God’s grace that in the end offers the prophetic acquisition of supernatural living water. 

Grand Canyon (Havasu Falls) Photo by Jan Kronies on Unsplash

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