Have you noticed that Jesus’ responses are often off subject? Sunday morning Pastor’s sermon was in John 4:13-23. You know, one of my favorite passages – the Samaritan woman at the well. There are so many lessons from this brief encounter! There are stand-alone applications to our lives today, but there is a broader theme that came to me.
Someone asks Jesus a question or makes a request. Jesus responds with appears to be a complete subject changing response – yet it is right on target.
Take this one for starters. Jesus has asked water of her. Big surprises right there, a Jew speaking to a Samaritan, a man speaking to a lone woman, not your average situation. A bit of conversation, then He describes a well spring of living water where we will no longer thirst.
She makes her request in response to His message.
The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not,
And then blows the whole understanding bit.
neither come hither to draw. (John 4:15 KJV)
Isn’t that just like us? We’re offered spiritual things and we want our way of life changed to make it easier for us. She wanted never to thirst, in order that she wouldn’t have to traipse down to the well for water. OK. So, Jesus has her request ringing in his ears and He comes back with:
Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. (John 4:16 KJV)
Completely off topic, right?
Sort of like the [insert title: pastor, Sunday school teacher; youth minister; choir director; Christian friend] you went to when you were having a really bad day and you told them how you felt. Instead of simple sympathy, they said, “Have you been reading your Bible?” or, “Have you prayed about this?” or, even worse, “Come, let’s pray together about it.”
Hey, what was wanted was sympathy and/or our own way! We really didn’t want to find out that that burden could be lifted simply by giving it to God instead of carrying all alone, on and on. Worse, we didn’t want to find out that part of the burden was an attitude that opposed what God had planned for the best things in life.
Christ’s response went to the very center of her problems. You see, Jesus knew that the burden in the Samaritan woman’s life was the sinfulness of her relationships. That was keeping her from Him and from answers that would provide life-changing fulfillment.
Let me assure you – and reassure me – God knows. He knows what is keeping us from Him and He knows all it takes is repenting. Turning around. Turning to Him instead of what we think has greater opportunity to give us pleasure than being with God.
We have to have faith in God.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6 KJV)
He provides the means for that faith and its growth. Get out your Bible. Read it. Pray with it. Come hear a man of God speak of it.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17 KJV)