When I lived in Nashville in the late nineties, I was a frequent shopper, so to speak, at the Humane Society. I would stop by a couple times a week and donate supplies, take a look at all the pets, and check on which ones had been adopted. Every now and then if there was a particularly challenged animal, malnourished or with a coat in a bad way, I would take it home and nurse it until it became more adoptable.
There was one cat, Max, that especially drew my attention. One cold night, Max had crawled under the hood of a car and onto the still-warm engine. When the owner of the car started up the engine the next morning, he heard the loud cry as Max’s back received an awful wound, about six inches long. The owner of the car was kind enough to bring Max to the shelter and the vet did what he could, but Max was a sorry sight. He had no fur left on his back and the fur he did have on the rest of his body was odd to say the least.
“What breed of cat is Max?” I asked one day.
“I don’t think Max has any particularly dominating breed,” the girl cleaning out the cages said. “I’m not sure how we’ll ever get him adopted. He’s a bit of everything!”
I took Max home that day.
He was one of the sweetest animals I have ever had the joy of loving. It seemed to me that his devotion came from someone seeing beyond his wounds to his wonderful heart.
Perhaps that is what is most striking about Christ’s encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well: He saw beyond her culture, her gender and her string of broken relationships that she wore like a scarlet letter. He saw a woman who was worth dying for and that would bind her heart to His, all her heart, and she would never forget that.
If you have ever felt like a stray or one who wears a scarlet letter, don’t be surprised when God’s love takes you in.