Please give me a drink. – John 4:7
We worship a God who became a vulnerable human being. Superman had his kryptonite. Samson lost his hair. Jack Frost relinquished his wintry powers to become the town tailor. Jesus got thirsty. It’s a story that is played out not only in history, but in fantasy, legend and mythology — someone with supernatural powers gives up those powers to become human, and it is always done for one reason: love. That was certainly God’s reason. “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:8)
Love always makes you vulnerable. There’s no way you can love without being exposed in some way or giving something up. Love and need go together. God’s love compelled Him to do what He did because that very love created in Him a need for us. By creating us He also created in Himself a place for us, and that need was reflected many times through the life of Christ. Jesus needed a drink from Jacob’s well. He needed food and a place to stay (He was homeless). He needed companionship, and in His most agonizing moment — the night before He died — he just needed someone to stay awake with Him and pray.
Jesus Christ didn’t die for us because it made for good theology; He died for us because He loved us, lost us to sin, and gave Himself up to buy us back. By doing this He had to become vulnerable to the very system He created, that we might see how true love behaves. There is a death in love, and that death is the death of self. Jesus died to love us; we die as well in order to love and serve others. And part of that is in being vulnerable.
Our daughter is going through a very difficult loss right now and needs extra attention. That means listening to her, empathizing with her, opening up our home to her until she can get back on her feet, staying up most of the night with her because she can’t sleep. Even our little dogs are having to give up something because Anne’s big dog is here, too. (They’re not being very Christ-like about it either.) Everyone is affected when you love someone.
Sometimes the best thing we can do for someone is ask for help. Jesus asked a woman for a drink and three years later, he was asking for the same thing from a soldier as He hung on the cross—symbolic of the vulnerability He placed Himself into for the whole human race. Being vulnerable to those you love is a big part of what love is.