I want to do a follow up to last week’s email so if you didn’t get, or read, it last week, you might want to read it below first. A story like “the woman at the well” is so rich & deep that a few paragraphs couldn’t possibly do it justice, so here are a few additional thoughts regarding the story in John 4, some of which were inspired by Mike & Bill who emailed me back last week with some comments.
I think it’s interesting that Samaria wasn’t Jesus’ actual destination (v.3). We can get so caught up in looking & planning for our “calling”, “purpose”, or “destiny/destination”, that we fail to recognize the rich opportunities along the way. Just because we aren’t called to something long term doesn’t mean we can’t meet a need or fill a void that’s right in front of us.
Jesus stopped there because he was tired (v.6)! What??? I love that the scriptures show both the miraculous & super duper wise Jesus AND the human Jesus who deals with some of the same challenges that we do. Being tired & needing to rest isn’t a sign of weakness or a lack of spiritual maturity. And if you have a pastor or spiritual leader who tries to convince you otherwise, find new people to serve alongside of because their needs & objectives are a higher priority than your wellness.
Jesus didn’t actually reach a multitude while in Samaria, he technically only reached one person. She was the one with the connections & personal relationships & invited them to come out & meet/listen to Jesus (v.30). We can be so worried about reaching the masses when often it’s simply about meeting that one person right where they’re at & allowing that one person to share the good news with their friends.
The story ends with, “many people believed because of the woman” & “many more believed because they heard directly from Jesus” & other’s said, “we no longer believe JUST because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world” (v.39-42). I guess I would encourage you not to undervalue the impact your words & testimony can have on someone to spark faith in Jesus. And at the same time it’s important that we don’t underestimate the presence of Jesus either. They talked him into staying with them for 2 days! Now we could have lots of theological conversations about that alone but I’m so thankful for the presence of Jesus through the Holy Spirit who is available to us 24/7 & IMHO, in an even more special way when we gather together in community for worship, communion, & fellowship. May we always honor & value the presence of Jesus & the impact he makes on us & others when we are with him. So tell others about Jesus, invite people you know & meet to church on Sunday & to lunch with you or to tag along with you when you serve the poor, & keep your eyes open for opportunities that pop up that weren’t even a part of the plan.
Much Love, Pastor Chris.