I recently saw the Oscar winning movie “A Beautiful Mind” with Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly from 2001. It is a story about the life John Nash, a genius mathematician who struggles with the mental illness schizophrenia and about his relationship with his wife Alicia Nash. Although the movie has many elements that make it an excellent movie to watch, it is, at its heart, a Love story. In the movie, Alicia loves her husband, even through the terrible rough spots of his illness and when all the other important people in his life have abandoned him. Her love is a powerful part of the movie’s message. As I watched the movie, there are many times when you would understand her if she left him, and in the movie, when their relationship and John’s life seems to be coming to a crashing end, it is her love for him that makes her to decide to stay. Her love is not a fair-weather love. It sees deeper than skin and deeper than current situation. It is her place in his real life that provides the anchor in reality that allows him to struggle with and successfully live with his mental illness. Her love enables the transformation of his life.
There was something about the quality and depth of Alicia’s love for John in the movie “A Beautiful mind” that I was reminded of when I read the gospel about the woman at the well. The life of Samaritan women that Jesus meets at the well is pretty broken and most people in her community don’t know what to do with her. She was ostracized and had to come to the well alone. She had broken the rules around marriage enough times to give her a reputation in her community. In the culture of her day where you were born mattered, what sex you were mattered, and a persons reputation was hard to change. As a woman and as a Samaritan woman, she wasn’t the type of person that any Jewish man would speak with. Even the disciples were initially scandalized when they returned from grocery shopping to find her and Jesus talking together. Yet Jesus does more than speak with her, he teaches her, and he even offers her living water to drink. Jesus treats her with the same love and compassion as he does his own disciples.
This is the good news for you and I. Jesus knows who we are and what we have done and he loves us. Did you get that? Did hear that? Jesus knows who we are and what we have done and he loves us. Jesus wants to transform every one of us. This is good news.
None of us go through life without doing things that we are ashamed of or carry guilt about, things that we hide from or that we try to hide from others. All of us have made mistakes or choices that have had consequences. I need you to understand and come to grips with the fact that God knows about every little bit of that, and God still loves you and me.
That knowledge changes your life.
In the movie, “A Beautiful Mind” Alicia is well aware of both John’s brilliance and his illness and she still loves him and because of that love John Nash is able to renew and restart his life. In the gospel story, Jesus knows who the woman at the well is and what she has done and he still loves her and in the knowledge of that love, the woman at the well is transformed from a non-person to a person worthy to be offered a place in God’s Kingdom, and worthy of a place in the community. Importantly, she is empowered by Jesus’ love and compassion and she returns to her community to speak up and to be heard proclaiming Jesus. She excitedly tells them that he loves her even when he fully knows her sins. She says, “He told me everything I have ever done.”
In our life, when we fully realise and accept that God loves us that completely, then we too begin to be transformed by that love.
- Being loved by God gives us the strength to do the things we know are right.
- Being loved by God gives us the power make the difficult choices that following the Jesus brings us to in our life.
- And Being loved by God gives us the courage to let others know that it is because of God’s love for us that we are able to be the people Jesus calls us to be.