FF40 – Day 39 on Vocation | From Bob Byrd


Ester 4:9-17 | John 4:1-30 | 1 Timothy 4:6-16

Life is all about choosing and deciding. Living a good life is all about making
good choices and decisions. Most of us do not really like to make choices.

The first reading is a portion of a narrative recounting the story of a young Jewess who was chosen as queen by a Persian ruler who had subjugated her people who were facing extinction. Her uncle encouraged her to intercede. She chose to take the risk at the risk of her own position and life; a choice that would make her a heroic model remembered at an annual festival.

The second gives an account of another woman faced with a series of
choices that individually were not so dramatic but resulted in reshaping her
life and those around her. Her first decision was to take the risk of crossing
cultural barriers by engaging a foreign man in conversation. For her the
issue was a national distinction; he was a Jew; she was a Samaritan. For the
disciples it was a gender issue. He was a man; she a woman.

Some of her conclusions about this stranger required revision in light of
further experience and information. At first he appeared to be just a man –
thirsty and without means of obtaining water. Then she became hopeful that
this man could be her means of escaping thirst and the routine of obtaining
water for herself. Then she began to be aware of and influenced by the
spiritual dimension of their conversation.

She soon decided it was necessary to amend her opinion of this man in a
spiritual direction as she asserted, “you are a prophet.”  It would not take
long for her to reconsider that decision as she considered the option that he
might be the long-awaited Messiah. The account does not offer everything
we want to know about her decision concerning the identity of this visitor.
It specifies that her testimony was so strong that “many Samaritans …
believed in him.”

College life is all about choosing and deciding. As you begin this journey exercise care in your choices. Some of them may be as simple as choosing a conversation with a stranger. Some of them may need to be revised in light of fuller experience and knowledge. Some may be dramatic. Each one will impact you and those around you.

Dr. Bob Byrd
Professor of Religion emeritus



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