More than any other woman we have written about so far, Damaris is the one I identify with. This woman is me. I imagine she was shopping or generally going about her everyday business in downtown Athens when she stopped to overhear Paul’s conversation. A small crowd had gathered to hear him, and Damaris was drawn to see what was going on. Who was this foreigner with his unusual accent and odd clothing that marked him as an outsider? Why was he here in the public square speaking persuasively about a man named Jesus that lived in another part of the world?
She heard enough to be greatly intrigued, and it captured her imagination, his explanation of who this man Jesus was and what he did. And this man was not only a god, but the God, and he walked here on the earth, not so very long ago. Her gods were long gone from the earth. She had never seen one, and she had never heard of someone who had. This man was talking about something that was real. He was not trying to sell household statues of this god. He was not proposing that a temple or a statue be added in his honor to the Acropolis. He described what Jesus looked like from the vision but did not have any likeness of him at all. This god lived in us. How odd this must have seemed to her! All the god’s likenesses were for sale, readily available in a city like Athens. But we were made into the likeness of Jesus when we believed.
Her head was spinning. No one had ever said things like this before. She could not stop thinking about Paul’s words, and she wondered that if it were true, what would that mean for her? Reluctantly, she pulled herself away to attend to her errands. But it was too late: Paul’s words had awakened a ravenous hunger she didn’t know she had.
When she heard later from her neighbor that Paul had been summoned to the Areopagus, her heart leaped: this was her chance! The hearings at the Areopagus were open to the public, and Damaris and her husband had been a few times before. But even if it was not unheard of for she and her husband to attend, he did not understand why she was so enlivened at the prospect of hearing this foreigner speak.
However she managed it, she got herself there to hear more about the new god. Paul’s speech that day was controversial, but to Damaris, it was life, and a life she would share with many, many others. It answered the questions she didn’t know she had. I identify with her hunger driving her out of her way to find satisfaction. I identify with that feeling of, I don’t know what it is, but I’ll know it when I see it. Our hearts are made for truth and find their true home there. Nothing else with do.
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Your Turn Do you remember having a true hunger for truth, a time when you needed to know? Share how God directed your path to be at the right place and time to hear the truth about Him. Share your story with us in the comments below. ~ Joni