It has been like that since our first parents—Adam and Eve—failed in disobedience to God’s commands. Man —I am using it in its generic form, to represent humanity—have always played the cover up and the deviation tactics. Religion and self-righteousness has become one of the most potent weapons humanity has managed to use in covering up our real needs.
We know the clichés. We know the right words to say. We got "Christianised" phrases to show our spirituality, but sometimes, these only become like escape routes. Instead, of opening up and dealing with the issues, like Adam and Eve, we resort to the wrong ways by covering up.
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. (Genesis 3:7).
“And the eyes of them both were opened….” They became conscious of themselves. They realised what they had done. Now what do we do? Adam might have asked Eve. They got the solution, humanly speaking: “They sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons (cloth, covering).” Fig leaves, they come in many shapes: self-righteousness, good deeds, religious talks, a “holier than thou” attitude e.tc. As indicated earlier, religion and self-righteousness has become one of the most potent weapons humanity has managed to use in covering up our real needs. The conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman readily comes to mind.
15: The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.16: Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.17: The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:18: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.19: The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.20: Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
Just like God went seeking out for Adam in Genesis 3:9, “And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou”, I believe Jesus also went seeking out specifically for this hurting woman. John 4:4 puts it in a good way. “And he must needs go through Samaria”. It is believed that the shortest route from Judaea to Galilee was to go through Samaria, which the Jews avoided because they have no “dealings” with the Samaritans. To the Jews, the Samaritans were unclean.
The Jews often avoided Samaria by going around it along the Jordan River. The hatred between the Jews and Samaritans went back to the days of the Exile. When the northern kingdom was exiled to ASSYRIA, King Sargon of Assyria repopulated the area with captives from other lands. The intermarriage of these foreigners and the Jews who had been left in the land complicated the ancestry of the Samaritans. The Jews hated the Samaritans and considered them to be no longer “purer” Jews.1
Now, going through this route meant Jesus has broken the rules. He has gone out of His way to reach out to a life that is hurting. Jesus trampled religion under foot. Religion I believe is a creation of humankind. Religion prescribes morality; Christianity prescribes grace. Religion is human effort: trying to please God through the adherence of morals. Christianity is God’s effort at reaching out to humanity.2, and that is exactly what Jesus did with this Samaritan woman— an adulterous woman who is using illicit relationships to cover up her pain and hurt. Smart woman! When Jesus pointed out what was wrong with her, she quickly diverted the topic to religion, which I bet can describe many of us. Instead of facing the real issues of life, we resort to religion. Do good more, pray more, fast more, share your faith more and serve God more: Good deeds eventually gives us a false sense of spiritual wellbeing.
Jesus does not do religion. He does salvation and the saving of souls. He is seeking out for you. What are you hiding behind? What is your fig leaves? You can cover up for a moment, but it will blow up if you don’t open it up for real healing. You got to unmask and be real. Let Jesus into any pain and hurts. Let Him properly cover you.
Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.(Genesis 3:21)
Notes:Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
1. Radmacher, Allen and House, Compact Bible Commentary, (Nashville,Tennesse, Thomas Nelson Inc, 2004). Pg 742 Reference to commentary on John 4:4
2. The Emergence of A New Generation, Truth Publication