I’m just going to be real honest here. I love treasure hunting. Not in the way you’re probably thinking. I’m not talking about garage sale-ing or shopping for clearance. I’m talking hard core treasure hunting; like searching for gold, buried treasure and stuff like that.
Now another confession moment, I’ve never actually been on a treasure hunt, unless you consider an afternoon on the beach with a less than cooperative metal detector, or riffling through old houses at an estate sale. But I really want to go on one. It’s a bucket list kind of a thing.
I recently discovered a state park in Arkansas where you can actually search for diamonds in the rubble of a diamond bearing volcanic crater. If you find a diamond, you can keep it.
You can find a diamond and take it home.
Who doesn’t want to do that? Well, ok, so maybe that doesn’t send a shiver down your spine but it does mine. I have something in me that wants to push through the dirt, rubble and obstacles to find something of great worth.
When I looked at the pictures of the diamonds people were finding in the park I was surprised. They didn’t look like what I thought they would. I didn’t know they came in so many colors
The diamonds I have mainly seen are white. These seem to be the gem of choice for jewelry. Diamonds typically have been a symbol of wealth and status, opulence and beauty. Many women prefer a diamond for an engagement ring because it reflects that she has been valued beyond the worlds most desirable gemstone.
But looking at the diamonds from the Arkansas park opens up an entirely new conversation. Does a diamond in the rough have the same value as those that have been polished and cut? Are they not just as much of a diamond? Is a rough diamond as worthy of a pursuit as a perfectly crafted one?
It seems the diamond of great popularity is the perfectly crafted stone displayed in all its’ glory. The image of beauty and distinction. Anything less won’t do.
We are all diamonds.
Oh, I would like to reflect the most desirable diamond, however. The one that is cut at the right angle to complement my shape. The one that fits perfectly into a setting that sparkles and catches everyones admiring eye. I don’t want to be the diamond of many colors, sizes or shapes. I don’t want to be clear on one side and cloudy on the other as many diamonds are.
Truth be told, I am that diamond. I have many facets to my personality, experiences, preferences and presence. You do too. But why is it that we only find a certain attribute, a perfectly cut diamond, to be the one we want to be esteemed above all else? Why are we afraid? Why are we uncomfortable with ourselves? Why is it that we feel an image is something we have to “keep up”?
We are so much more than an image.
Jesus met a woman once while traveling. (Check out John 4) This woman had an image. It was the only image that fit her at the time and she wore it well. She was a woman who appeared to not be very well liked, to have made mistakes and perhaps gotten herself into situations that she was being judged for. She couldn’t keep up with images of the honorable women of her day so she succumbed to pressure by staying away from her community. She had no choice but to embrace being a woman with the image of dishonor. An image that wasn’t truly who she was. In feeling unworthy, I wonder if the colors, shapes and cloudiness of her life seemed to disqualify her from being loved and accepted?
We are afraid of being disqualified.
Holding up an image always put us on the defensive, never knowing if someone will pull back the curtain and see the real us is something we protect ourselves against.
Let’s be honest. Sometimes the real us isn’t what the world wants to see anyway. At times, it’s not what our closest loved one wants to see. They want the perfectly shaped and cut diamond. They don’t want the one that takes the work. Ouch, but true.
I wonder how often I disqualify the ones that I love because they aren’t as I want them to be or even as I need them to be?
Am I willing to accept the uncut diamonds for their implicit value not for the value of what they bring once they are all fixed up?
Jesus didn’t buy into what the woman was selling. He begins to talk to her not as the devalued, disavowed woman that she believes herself to be, but as a person of worth. He starts out simple. He asks her for a drink of water.
Jesus always starts out simple.
He pursues conversation. One of the purest ways to value another human being is to simple engage. Jesus gives her His time. She is caught off guard by this. No one wants to talk to her but Jesus does. Oh He sees that she isn’t like the other women. She has taken an alternative path in life, one that has probably come with heartache, disdain and conflict but this doesn’t disqualify her. There are not limits to unconditional love. There are no social, political or religious positions to defend with Jesus. He’s not trying to convince her of anything. He’s just being Jesus, loving Lord.
Jesus shows there is more than meets the eye.
As their conversation unfolds it’s obvious that this woman is informed and smart. Jesus has a way of revealing our intelligence to us when we didn’t think we had any. They discuss spiritual matters. Then they discuss real world matters. It’s obvious that this woman is raw but brave. Jesus has a way of revealing our bravery to us when we didn’t think have courage. He shows her who she is, not who she has believed herself to be, not as who she wanted the world to see her as, albeit a controversial or cast off.
She is a diamond in the rough and Jesus loves her for it.
There is so much more to people than meet the eye. Too often I allow boundary lines, color lines, preference lines and battle lines keep me from seeing the diamonds in my midst.
I am guilty. I often only see what people aren’t not what they are.
So I want to go to Arkansas. I want to go on my treasure hunt. I want to find diamonds, all kinds of them. I need to go. I need to see diamonds as they really are, not as I want them to be.
I want to be a treasure hunter, like Jesus. He helps me know that a diamond in the rough is worth digging for. He would know.