“All the way” by NAIB
Nicodemus had it all. He was a man in a man’s world. He was rich in a land of teeming poor and the blood of God’s chosen people ran in his veins. As a Pharisee he enjoyed social prestige and spiritual authority. Presumably, his life was upright and free from scandal. Above all, his heart was tender and open. What more could one ask for? Jesus entered the assured world of Nicodemus and nothing was ever the same again. What drove Nicodemus to leave his comfortable home and seek Jesus out on the road at night? He came with questions, perhaps driven by the unsettling conviction that his journey was not, after all, complete and he was offered what every traveller, spiritual or temporal, longs for. The car slowed to a stop before him. The door swung open and the smiling driver said, “Get in. I will take you all the way there.” Instead of getting in Nicodemus stood in the road and questioned the driver. Why? Perhaps it was because of all that he had. He was a man. He was rich. He was an upright son of God’s chosen people. He had a car of his own parked in the garage back home and second thoughts about riding with strangers.
The Samaritan woman had nothing. It would be difficult to imagine a person more marginalized. She was a woman in a man’s world. She was a poor villager in an occupied country. Her race was apostate and outcast and even among her rejected people she was a pariah because of her immorality. She met Jesus on the road by accident. Perhaps she was too weary even to extend her thumb. Without being asked Jesus offered the Samaritan woman what he had previously offered to Nicodemus. She had no car and lived in a world of strangers and so eagerly accepted his invitation to ride all the way to Heaven. Was the Samaritan woman better or, in some hidden way, more worthy than Nicodemus? The logic of the world would shout a resounding “No!” while the logic of fairytales would reveal her as a princess in disguise or a virtuous victim. Neither is correct and the truth is far more astounding. This is no unflappable Cinderella labouring in the serene moral certainty that she deserves better.
The Samaritan woman lived in desolation and her only possession was emptiness. Driven by a thirst that staggers the imagination she could not afford to deny that awful self-knowledge. To do so would be simply to die. She had learned the hitch hiker’s hardest lesson and accepted the friendly invitation without a second thought.