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You are truly an artist
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I'm not a big man. In fact, for most of my life, I could eat whatever I wanted when I wanted — with no effects on my weight. But over the last few years, my metabolism has slowed down. So, when I am not careful, my six-pack stomach is hidden behind what I lovingly call "camouflage." Last week at our drop-in, I took off my sweat shirt and had a T-shirt on underneath. Within a few minutes, two different people had made 'fat' jokes with me. One man asked if I was pregnant. Embarrassed, I put my hoody back on...and kept it on. I was actually quite hot...but I was not going to take off my sweat shirt again. The jokes stung too much. I'd rather avoid any comments if I could. In a small way, I think I felt a little what the woman felt in John 4.

In John's fourth chapter, he shared the story of Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at Jacob's well. She was there at twelve noon - the hottest time of the day. And she was there to get a large container of water. Why did she choose that time to accomplish one of the days most physically demanding tasks? Nobody else ever did that. Reading on, we realize why. As she spoke with Jesus, we hear that she has had five different husbands and a new man who was not yet her husband. We never hear whose fault it was...if the guys walked away, if she was challenging to live with, if the men were not great — we never know. We just know that she was ashamed of her life. Everyone in her small town knew her and her life. And it was easier for her to carry water at the hottest time of the day then have to hear one more joke, one more comment, one more jab...the jokes stung too much. She would rather have avoided any comments.

But, the point is: Jesus was there. Jesus loved her. Jesus revealed to her that she had worth. Jesus showed her that she was still and always had been God's precious beloved one. If that was not enough, John's Gospel concluded with Jesus speaking to His disciples. "As the Father sent me, so I send you." In other words, we are to love like Him. We are to, by the power of His same Spirit, love the people who avoid the rest of us — because it just hurts too much. We are to find and love the women at the wells today.

Christine was new to our drop-in. I sat with her at supper time. We talked for a bit. She was easy to talk to but very nervous. A bright bruise shined around her right eye. Whenever my questions approached her black eye, she quickly changed the topic. For some reason, she stayed. She didn't really want to learn cartooning (the topic I was teaching for our art class that night). So she worked away at her scrap book. She pulled out papers, letters, and mementos from different moments in her life — all to make a wonderful design. She spoke up a little as she worked, feeling more comfortable as the evening wore on. Near the end of the night she went out for a smoke. I followed her just to chat some more.

"I never get to do any of that stuff with my friends...they think it's all garbage and tell me to put it away," she opened with me.

"You are an artist. You have a real gift." I spoke back.

"An artist, hah! Nah, I'm just foolin' around," Christine deflected.

"No, trust me, I used to teach high school art...you have a real gift. You are an artist. Every time you create, you are an artist." I affirmed.

"An artist...wow. Nobody ever called me an artist...You think so?"

"Yeah."