pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


Leave a comment

Drawing In

Reading: John 4: 5-26

Verse 9: “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink”?

The conversation in today’s passage is refreshing. Two people who do not previously know each other have an open and honest conversation. Wouldn’t it be nice if people who know each other could have at least this open and honest of a conversation? Let’s see how that may be possible.

The conversation we read in John 4 is honest and allows space for the other to speak and be heard. The woman is coming to the well alone in the sixth hour, which would be noon for us. All the other women came as a group in the early morning, in the cool of the day. As they came, drew water, and returned to the village they would have talked and caught up with one another. The woman at the well is alone and is isolated in her own community. After Jesus asks her for a drink, she replies, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink”? Jesus is attempting to cross a few barriers here in order to enter into a conversation. She points out both the Jew-Samaritan and the male-female barriers. He continues the conversation, crossing the barrier of isolation. Jesus chooses to engage someone that most others ignore or avoid. In spite of the initial barriers that she tries to put up, Jesus continues to try and connect with her. Jesus offers her the “living water” and she reminds him that Jacob drank from this well and gave it to the Samaritans. The Samaritan connection to Jacob is their claim to equality with the Jews. She is testing Jesus – will he bite and allow the conversation to be derailed? No, he continues to offer her the water that leads to eternal life. You see, the gift of eternal life is much more important than any earthly defined barrier or difference. How can we model this belief in our efforts to share Jesus with others?

In verses sixteen through eighteen Jesus identifies the thing that keeps her on the fringes of society, outside of community. He does name it but there is no judgment, no taking of moral high ground. She falls back into the Jew-Samaritan barrier in verse twenty, but again Jesus persists, opening her eyes to see how God is working to break down worship and religious barriers, revealing a time when all believers will worship together in spirit and truth. Jesus is again leaning into the eternal. The woman at the well is beginning to sense what Jesus offers, connecting to the day when the Messiah will come. The conversation ends for now with Jesus claiming, “I am he”. Drawn in, the woman will soon draw others in.

This is the pattern of discipleship – sharing faith in Jesus with one person at a time. May we practice this model today.

Prayer: Father God, lead me past any barriers my earthly eyes may see at first. Open my heart and mind to the guiding of your Holy Spirit as I seek to share Jesus with others today. Amen.


2 Comments

Refreshing

Reading: Acts 3: 12-19

Verse Nineteen: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord”.

Peter astonished the crowd by healing a man who was crippled from birth. Yes, it was life-changing for the man physically. But the spiritual change that was possible for him and for all there that day was what was key. Rather than let the moment pass by, Peter seized the attention of the crowd and used it as an opportunity to preach about Jesus.

Peter first attributes the healing to the name of Jesus. It was not by Peter’s power but by God’s. Peter then reminds the crowd that it was they who “killed the author of life”. But he quickly goes on to say that God intervened there too, saying that “God raised Him from the dead” and that he and the disciples are witnesses to this. Peter then reiterates how the man was healed: “by faith in the name of Jesus”.

In our lives we too experience “God moments” – times where the hand or Spirit of God has clearly been at work. Maybe the cancer disappeared or maybe what should have been a disaster ended up with all being okay. Or maybe you followed the small voice of the Holy Spirit and were a part of changing someone’s life. These tangible touches of God come in all sizes and shapes.

Peter seizes the people’s touch by God and helps them to see that the ‘killing’ of Jesus was all part of God’s bigger plan to save the world. He connects the scripture with the crucifixion. Then Peter does something very important: he extends an invitation to faith in Jesus. He says, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord”. The crippled man was ‘refreshed’ before their eyes. Peter is offering a much more life-changing refreshing – the salvation of the soul. May we do the same today.