Trudy Maassen Vander Haar

READ : John 4:1-15

My garden tends to be a patch of monochromatic easy-to-grow flowers while my neighbor’s is an artist’s pallet of many hues and varieties. I love nature! What a gift God has given us in creation! And yet, as Goethe wrote, “The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers and cities; but to know someone who thinks and feels with us and who, though distant is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.”

How do we view the people who inhabit this garden? I read of a professor who sends about 4500 letters a year because he loves people. He knows how easy it is for people to be forgotten and that writing letters is a way to say, “I haven’t forgotten you.”

How big is your garden patch of people? Are they all people just like you or can you relate to the Avery and Marsh song, “Different is Beautiful, God Bless Variety”? All that variety is part of God’s creation. Goethe rejoiced in people of kindred spirit. With Christ as our model, we go beyond that. He knew no limits of acceptance. He spoke to the “unacceptable” the Samaritan woman, Nicodemus, Matthew, the thief on the cross. Accepting all people as created in God’s image, whether of different races, cultures, economic or political status, mental or physical abilities, gives us a basis for dialogue.


Jesus Christ, grant us Your spirit in all our diverse relationships and make us grateful for diversity. Amen.