THE ORDER OF BATTLE

The Water of Life Discourse between Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the Well by Angelika Kauffmann , 17–18th century (from here)
The Water of Life Discourse between Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the Well by Angelika Kauffmann , 17–18th century (from here)

We human beings are funny sometimes. Less often we are brilliant. We talk a lot about logic and reason. We supposedly want to be wise, but usually we are just ornery.

Here is a funny example. We all have heroes. That’s why we get articles and polls like the following:

Because of what our choices say about us, we want others to admire the people we admire, but people often don’t. So some people admire Barack Obama, Pope Francis, Hillary Clinton, Bill Graham, Bill Gates,……   Some don’t.

What is the problem? If you are of the Liberal persuasion, Ronald Reagan’s Conservatism will most likely not appeal to you. If you are Conservative, Barack Obama probably has you steaming. If you are not a Catholic, Pope Francis may just cause you to wonder why he wears funny cloths and why people drive him about in cheap cars. If you are not an Evangelical Protestant, Billy Graham’s Bible thumping version of Christianity has yet to reach your heart, and maybe it never will.

Before we choose to make someone our hero, we must first find in their identity something that is our own. Until we do, that Ronald Reagan advocated limit government will not cause us to believe in limited government. Until we do, that Pope Francis condemns the abortion of the unborn will not persuade us. Until we do, Barack Obama’s foolish drive for gun control will not cause us to support him. Until we do,…..

Our great hero, that person we admire so much, may influence us, but before our hero captured our heart someone closer first influenced us.

Do you have a child? Do you have a friend? Do you want to persuade them of something? Then before you tell them about your heroes, tell them what you believe and why.

Consider John 4:4–26. Consider how Jesus began.

John 4:4-26 New King James Version (NKJV)

But He needed to go through Samaria.

So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”

17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”

Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”

19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”

26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.

First Jesus told the woman at the well what she needed to hear. Then He told her about the one who would become her hero.

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13 thoughts on “THE ORDER OF BATTLE

  1. Wonderful, Tom. Well said, indeed.

    One problem I see in the world today is that people are looking for heroes without any understanding first of what they, themselves believe. That’s dangerous because we then tend to follow people based on the blank slate concept. Our heroes become empty slates for us to project our hopes and ideals upon, something that is easily exploited. President Obama wrote about this very thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment and a great observation.

      When I was growing up, I wondered how the German people could have let Hitler do what he did. Life has since shown me my own weaknesses and some of my fellows weaknesses too. Therefore, how the German people could have let Hitler do what he did is no longer quite the mystery it once was.

      When we choose our heroes because they have charisma and because they have achieved some sort of material success, we risk following someone who has already set a bad example. We risk following someone “without any understanding first of what they, themselves believe.”

      Our politicians, for example, often portray themselves as saviors. They will save us from our enemies: the rich, the lazy, the foreigner, people of different race, the oil companies, food additives,….. There is always something they can offer us or scare us with. We just have set aside our brains and our consciences and believe them. We just have to ignore age old wisdom, let some narcissistic madman make our decisions for us, and believe what our heart and our reason tells us is wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Music Smells Like Noise and commented:
    Reading this post, “Kill Your Heroes” came to mind. A number by electronic rock band AWOLNATION. The song itself doesn’t explore the topic in length but the title says it all. It’s a phrase we’ve all heard in one version or another.
    Hell, the biggest story ever told is the rise of Jesus Christ. A savior, a hero crucified and killed by us, the people.

    To apply the phrase “kill your heroes” in today’s society is not about getting yourself arrested for murder. Instead, it’s more about being subjective towards your heroes, being in a state of mind where you’re strong enough not to let the herd decided who the hero of the day is but to understand why the hero is a hero to YOU and how you can achieve or perhaps surpass that heroism.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the reblog and thanks for providing the meaning of the phrase “kill your heroes.” It is surprising how difficult it is to find the meaning of that phrase on the Internet.

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  3. Good post to remind us to consider what we are hearing and smelling..

    Today, with all the means of technology available, we hear a lot more ideologies.
    Sometimes we listen but are unable to discern what we are hearing.
    The reason is in order to discern what is truthful as well as meaningful, we need to obtain wisdom.
    That takes time. We are distracted and choose to waste our time seeking costly pleasures, never ever becoming aware that the simple meaningful pleasures of life surround us are free, f only only we would spend the time to seek out and recognize what is most meaningful in our lives.

    In other words we need to wise up and smell the coffee.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    .

    Liked by 1 person

  4. phadde2

    It’s an interesting message to consider. I am confounded when I hear folks not being able to criticize their temporal heroes. Do you think they do no wrong? Seriously!?! These folks operate in the temporal world, but there is still an emptiness that resides in their hearts and minds. They fill that hole with hagiographies of human beings to create Secular heroes.

    Look at the Lincoln memorial, for instance, is that not a parthenon structure with Lincoln instead of Athena?

    What is worst is when folks build those temples in their hearts and minds for those who live amongst us. Do not be afraid to rebuke the city of man!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great comment, but I am not quite certain to make of the Lincoln Memorial. I have been there. I did not think of it as a place of worship, but I suppose some do, and I might have done so unconsciously.

      The histories I have read did not deify Lincoln. His life, great though the man was, resisted that. Instead, they portray a careworn, clever, but moral man who struggled to hold a nation together.

      There is no smile on the man’s face. What his posture betrays is calm resolve. Roman fasces decorate much of the monument. What they symbolize is strength through unity, the strength Lincoln helped to preserve.

      While distracted by myths about faces in hair and letter-signing hands, many visitors miss the true meaning of the memorial and the ubiquitous symbol that carries that meaning. Instead of being hidden somewhere inaccessible, the symbol is deceptively obvious, right there under Abraham Lincoln’s hands. So overlooked is this symbol that even when pointed out, many observers will assume the lines represent books. In fact, the symbol is that of fasces (FAS-eez), a bundle of rods bound by a leather thong. Repeated elsewhere in the memorial, the fasces throughout the Lincoln Memorial reveal the higher meaning of the memorial and the man. (from => http://www.nps.gov/nama/blogs/Secret-Symbol-of-the-Lincoln-Memorial.htm)

      The Lincoln Memorial is a monument to the nation as well as Lincoln. Is it an idol too? Probably, but as long as men live we will memorialize our dead.

      We can only do as Lincoln seems to have done, turn to God and strive to elevate him above all our loves, our worries, our concerns, and our desires.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. phadde2

        I enjoy the Lincoln memorial, I used merely as an example because of its prominence in the National Mall. I think it’s more impressive than the Washington or Jefferson monument.

        Now you and I may look at the monument with a certain perspective, but there are those who revere a secular monument without a second thought. As you mentioned, a calm reserve in the representation, but more copious histories– biography by Michael Burlingame– shows us a man who was very troubled and depressed, although persevered.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. There are also those who detest the dead white men who founded our nation. Humanity is a mixed bag and for our Father in heaven to sort out.

          The monuments are generally beautiful and built with the best of intentions. We derive idols from such things, but what makes an idol is in the man, not the idol.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. It is a tradition in the Libertarian movement to portray Abraham Lincoln as an evil tyrant who was a power-mad megalomaniac responsible for the destruction of the Constitution, and who cared nothing about ending slavery except as a political tool. Several books by Libertarian authors are in this vein, notably books by Thomas DiLorenzo. It is interesting to me how history can be cherry-picked to produce this spin on Lincoln. Some conservatives have also been convinced by this take on Lincoln, as represented in this American Spectator article.

        The name “American Spectator” reminds me: There is a website called “The American Conservative” which is actually a Libertarian site and quite opposed to most American conservatives.

        ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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        1. @Keith

          Great men like Abraham Lincoln never have a shortage of detractors. Undoubtedly, Lincoln’s critics go beyond the Libertarian movement, but I expect Libertarians have the most to gain by assaulting Lincoln. These days, when Democrats attack Lincoln, they gain nothing but difficulty of explaining their hostility to their black supporters.

          Anyway, that monument speaks of a simple truth. That American Spectator article is just a cheap shot. The author starts off trying to sound neutral about Abraham Lincoln and Rich Lowry, but neutral he isn’t. Much of what he wrote is just unsupported rubbish, at best what you rightly call cherry-picking.

          When we elect someone to an important public office, he is going to do some things we don’t like. That would be true of any man we picked.

          Lincoln did not create controversy. He tried to find a solution. Yet because of a great war that no one man could stop, Lincoln stepped into a maelstrom of strife.

          Still, in spite of the tremendous loss of life, the North reelected him. That speaks volumes. As imperfect as Lincoln was — as horrid as the Civil War was — the North could not find a better man to deal with the problem.

          Since the Constitution did not provide any procedure for succession, and Article VI declared the Constitution the supreme law of the land, arguably succession was illegal. As it was the South fired the first shots. Given that Article IV, Section 4 requires the “United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government,” shooting at Federal troops was bad form to say the least.

          It seems the arrogance of some people got the better of them. Instead of trying to work out a peaceful process for succession, the South just angrily bolted, deliberately infuriating the North, implicitly threatening the continued stability of the United States even in a reduced form.

          Lincoln dealt with the problem. Upon his death, Lincoln left a stable republic. The true damage to that republic, the structural changes to the Constitution (especially the 16th and 17th amendments) that now threaten it began in the 20th Century.

          What about the crucial changes in the American public’s attitude towards what we call “rights”? What about the fact that so many now lack a proper understanding of virtue? Those problems began when the government started fouling up education of our young. Those problems began in the 1830’s, and Lincoln had nothing to do with them. Again, the Federal Government did not attempt to stick its nose into educational matters until the 20th Century.

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