The Other Ethiopian Eunuch

A Reflection on Jeremiah 38:1-13

Nobody likes that guy who goes around saying, “We’re gonna lose. You might as well give up now.”  This is especially true in the midst of a battle.  Such people, if they have any authority at all, are a seditious threat to morale.  At the siege of Jerusalem, Jeremiah was that guy.  So, the prophet who had once spoke on behalf of the Lord, “my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and dug out cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jer 2:13), is thrown into an empty cistern to sink into the mud and into the silent oblivion of death.

Help, as it often does, comes from an unforeseen source.  An Ethiopian eunuch, a foreigner who is ritually unclean by virtue of being a eunuch, pleads for Jeremiah’s life and rescues him from the pit and from certain starvation.

Very often, it is the marginalized person in our midst, the stranger, who ensures that we cannot stash God’s challenging word away in a cistern so that it remains unheard.  It is the immigrant, the refugee, the one suffering from mental illness, the rejected one, who sets God’s insistent and unyielding word of judgment before us, so that we might turn away from idolatry and toward love.  In some sense, this is why it is so hard to welcome the stranger.  When we commit to welcoming the stranger, we are committing to vulnerability as we stand before God’s insistent and challenging word.

 

 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s