Soul Food: “S’up with the Cup?” By Rica McRoy


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Earlier this week social media outlets were littered with red cups. The whole “non- controversial controversy” made me wonder if Joshua Feuerstein was secretly on Starbucks’ payroll. You have to admit, it worked more effectively than a high-dollar marketing scheme! Sheer genius. I couldn’t help but add my giggly two cents by creating a meme…(someone told me that’s what it’s called…)

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So, back to Starbucks. According to company philosophy, Starbucks’ goal is to be our “third place” hangout. I don’t know about you, but at least once on any given week, I have met a friend, attended a meeting, enjoyed free wiffee (that’s an inside joke), or killed some time while reading a book at Starbucks. Sometimes, I actually get a cup of coffee. Or three.

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Long before Starbucks, there was a place where people would congregate, spend time in conversation and get liquid nourishment for their day. It was called a well.

Picturing a modern-day Starbucks helps us understand the cultural significance of a well in Bible times.

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You will want to stop and read John 4:1-42. Since you are already on an electronic device, you might try going to and entering that scripture passage.

So here are some things I would like you to see:
* Because racial, cultural and religious tensions between Samaritans and Jews ran high, Jewish travelers would travel around Samaria but not through it. But that’s not how Jesus rolled.

*The woman came to draw water at the hottest time of day. No one came to the well at noon because it was much cooler and a lot more social in the morning. The woman withstood the scorching heat and lonely walk rather than endure the morning crowds. Jesus however, positioned himself to encounter her.

*Jesus asked her for a drink. This was HUGE! Jewish men didn’t initiate conversation with women who weren’t their wives. Jewish people were not to speak with Samaritans. Accepting a drink from her would have made him ceremonially “unclean”. THAT is how Jesus rolled.

It turns out the woman had been married five times and was currently living with a sixth man. Our Bible says, Jesus asked HER for a drink. You could also phrase his request, “Can I have a drink from YOUR cup?”  Imagine, the holy, righteous lips of the Messiah drinking from the rim of a cup that had touched the lips of a woman who had been with at least six different men.

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This encounter was a picture of the Gospel of grace. To think that the Son of God would wrap Himself with flesh, step into the Samaria of humanity and drink the cup that contains the punishment for OUR sin. Scandalous, but true.

The woman at the well encountered the One she had been waiting for. The One who knew everything about the filth of her cup and was willing to drink from it, FOR her. He promised her streams of living water that would bring eternal life. So you know what she did next? She left HER cup behind.

She went running, overflowing as a wellspring, INTO the town she had been running from, to testify “He told me everything I have ever done!” Many in Samaria came to believe in Jesus as Savior of the world, but it started with one woman and her cup. Jesus doesn’t care one iota about the outside of a cup. He cares about the content. His grace cleanses us from within and fills us to the brim.

If you want to know more about this Man and His scandalous grace, message me. I will meet you at Starbucks and buy you some pretty good coffee, in a red cup.


Dear God,
Thank you for the Cross of Christ Jesus that paid the way for the Great Exchange. As your redeemed people may we offer ourselves to be vessels of your grace. Holy Spirit guide us in how to offer hope to those who haven’t found the One they are looking for. Be glorified and may the name of Jesus lifted high. Amen.

Treasure Hunt

Read Matthew 23:25. What does God say about a cup?

Look at John 7:38 and Romans 15:13.  What does the grace of Jesus fill you with?

Reflection Questions:

Do you see yourself in the story of the Samaritan woman?  Where?

Do you spend more time on the outside appearance of your “cup” or the inner content?

Faith in Action

Pray and ask God how you should reach out and share the hope of Christ in your “Samaria” today.


Author: Rica McRoy

Rica was born in Orissa, India and immigrated to America when she was two years old. She was raised in a loving, devout Hindu home, but at the age of 28, beheld the beauty of Jesus Christ and her life has never been the same. The desire of her heart is for people from every nation, tongue and tribe to know the great delight of being fully known and fully loved by Christ and for that knowledge to compel them to share His grace in radical ways.



  1. Pam Graves November 26, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    I love you Rica! Thanks for straightening out this red cup mess. Your post was much more eloquent than the Tyler Perry/Madea quote I sent my girls. Sure miss you friend.

  2. Debbi Sexton November 27, 2015 at 10:28 am

    Wonderfully written…so thankful for the “scandalous” love of Jesus!


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