For Diane Vivian Sharon and Carol, life has not gone as they planned. They had high hopes for love and have all found themselves ambushed in one way or another. So the four life-long friends decide to read 50 Shades of Grey. As you do. Before they know it, unexpected people start crashing into their ordered lives. Reading Grey starts to bring a dollop of colour to things.
While the friends are reading a notorious book about sex, one of them makes the comment that this is still really a story of the search for love. Love perhaps, in the form of understanding, acceptance, truth and affirmation. The four embark on various relational encounters with various degrees of success. And thereby hangs the tale.
A travelling man once met a woman whose life had been scuppered. She had most probably dreamt of having a family and a good marriage to a man who cared for her. Instead she found that man after man dumped her and ran. After 5 marriages she finds herself living with yet another man, probably for survival. And then she meets a man who treats her differently. A man who listens to her, looks her in the eyes, does not merely expect her to clean the house, make the food, and provide sex when necessary. A man who treats her like a human being, like an equal. And it has a radical effect on her. She goes running back to her village enthusing about someone she has met who knows all about her heart-breaking and difficult past and is not embarrassed or critical about it. A man who does not gossip or whisper about her mistreatment and failures as the others in the village have been doing. A man who understands and cares and has offered her a new start. This is shocking! This makes the locals sit up and take notice. Perhaps they wonder what this man who seems to know so much, might know about them. They come running. And suddenly, this side-lined woman, this marginalised person, finds herself the author of something unexpected. The precious and vital messenger who kick-starts a change for a lot of people. This man has begun to remove the poison from her past, and others are about to embark on the same journey. And down the ages, others will do this too. We, like the villagers here, have come to know this man as Jesus; the heroic woman is sadly unnamed, remaining something of a mystery, and only known as ‘the woman at the well’. (Have a peek at John 4 for more details.)