Monday, December 18, 2006


We spoke for a moment a while back about the woman at the well, in regards to our discussion about the well, we did not discuss the story immediately previous to this in the book of John, the story of Nicodemus's secret meeting with Jesus. These two stories have some striking similarities, and some outright opposites. Nicodemus was male, The woman, obviously was female. Jesus approached the woman, Nicodemus approached Jesus. The meeting with the woman happened at about noon, the meeting with Nicodemus happened late at night. The woman was of the middle or lower class, Nicodemus was of the upper class. The woman became an open follower, Nicodemus followed Jesus only partially, and in secret.

The meeting with the woman happened in the day time, because the woman was ready to see the light, the meeting with Nicodemus happened at night because Nicodemus was not ready. Both individuals could see there was something special about Jesus. The woman responded. Nicodemus went back to the Pharisees. The story of the woman is the story of those that have been initiated into the mysteries of life, or the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but do not yet understand it. She was at the well because she was already drawing up the water of spiritual life, however, she was doing it in a rote and automatic, unthinking kind of way. Being a member of the middle or lower classes, she was following the dictates of her society, and was simply going along with the crowd. "Our people say worship here." No thought about the real meaning of it all, this is what our society believes, so I believe it too. "Our people have the true way, your people follow false doctrine." How do you know its true or false? "Our leaders tell us it is so." Well, our teachers tell us it is not." You see, the woman at the well recognized the "inner truth." She still may not have understood it all, but she took a step forward. This is like the I Ching people that think that the I Ching is nothing but an automatic response system that has no independent mind of its own. They use it for divination but do not realize the power that is involved to change lives. Jesus said to her, "in fact, you have had five husbands, and the one thou hast now is not thy husband." On one level this is merely an indicator of moral development based on the morality of the society at that place and time. But on a deeper level, the five husbands were five incarnations in which she had a spiritual teacher. The husband that she now had was not truly and rightly her teacher, her guru, her Christ, her Buddha. In running across Jesus, she is reunited with her true spiritual teacher.

Enter Nicodemus. Nicodemus comes at night because his mind is in darkness. In his case he is not just blindly following the dictates of his society, but is himself a ruler. He also comes because he is in fear of being seen by his peers, another story for another time. He comes at night because he is not ready to break away from his ruling class, and the power he maintains. He is willing to give Jesus an audience, but not willing to take everything to heart and make a change in his life. Jesus addresses him in a totally way. Where he challenged the woman to look beyond the facade of her societal teachings, he challenges Nicodemus to recognize the mistake he is making by putting to much import on his power and position. Nicodemus is a leader of the Jews, but Jesus queried, "You are a ruler of the jews and do not understand these things?" These things cannot be realized logically and intellectually, and all your pride in position and power will not help. Nicodemus was at a loss to understand these things, because, in contrast to the woman, he hadn't even had any prior incarnations with a true teacher. He understood only what was preached from the pulpit, not the spiritual things that are discerned through intuition and spiritual development, meditation, etc. He is like the person who takes everything in the I Ching in an all too literal way, and cannot see beyond to the spirit of the words of the text. Nicodemus was blinded to the truth by his power and his position, and remained in his post even after speaking with Jesus.

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