What May Be Stopping Us From Sharing Jesus?
25 The woman said, “I don’t know about that. I do know that the Messiah is coming. When he arrives, we’ll get the whole story.”26 “I am he,” said Jesus. “You don’t have to wait any longer or look any further.”…28 The woman took the hint and left. In her confusion, she left her water pot. Back in the village she told the people, 29 “Come see a man who knew all about the things I did, who knows me inside and out. Do you think this could be the Messiah?” 30 And they went out to see for themselves.—John 4:25-26, 28-30, MSG
I have been reading the Scriptures virtually all of my life. I know the Good Book reasonably well. Still, through reading and reflecting daily on the meaning of passages—for believers back then and for you and me, I’m learning more about God, our life together, and my life with him.
Have you ever noticed the more time the woman spends with Jesus, the less self-conscious she becomes? She heads out to the well at noon, the hottest and most humid point in the day, by herself. Drawing and carrying water was a communal activity that women did together. However, the women in the village have deemed her persona non grata. They disapprove of her life choices and circumstances. What’s more, they render her a persona non grata because of the social, moral, and spiritual consequences of those choices and circumstances.
When she meets Jesus, who knows of her history through being all-knowing and all-loving, he offers her a chance to recover her most authentic identity in God and real respectably amongst God’s people. Moreover, he recruits her to play a pivotal role in the salvation of her fellow Samaritans. This, to be sure, is something of which neither she, nor her neighbors, nor the twelve disciples are aware.
The Lord often preserves critical roles in the drama of salvation and liberation of others to whom we are connected. Yet, before we can accept and act out our part, the Lord has to enable us to think less about the sins of our past or the shame of our present and more about the overwhelming love and truth of Jesus Christ. Notice, she runs excitedly to tell people about the man she happened to meet at the well who might be the Christ for whom even the Samaritans were waiting to show up (Vs. 29). She does not care about the possibility of being rejected again by people who may know her history but don’t know her heart. What accounts for the dramatic change of attitude and action of the woman we meet in Verse 7 and the one who, in Verses 28-29, leaves her pot and runs through town telling everyone about the “living water”, the good news about Jesus Christ? The answer is quite simple:
- She shows up when and where she is supposed to meet the Lord (Vs. 7). She does not know that she will meet Jesus that day. However, you and I can choose to encounter Jesus every day and anytime during the day.
- She speaks up, listens up, and learns (Vss. 9-24). Like the Samaritan Sistah, we can daily meet Jesus in the prayer, through which we confess our sins and contemplate His mercy and message to us. In other words, we can exercise daily our privilege to talk to God and our responsibility to listen to his answers.
- She spends adequate quality and quantity of time with him. By doing so, she focuses more on the chance and change the Lord offers. She does because no one wants to help her overcome her stigmatization and isolation. In effect, the more time she spends with Jesus, she becomes less self-conscious and self-condemning and more hungry for the divine acceptance and affirmation she receives through Jesus.
- She shares excitedly and unreservedly the good news of God because she knows others want to know and grow, too. We think others don’t want to know about Jesus. Or, if they do, they don’t want to know from us because we have been quite the characters and others see us as a person with little credibility. Perhaps you and I should look at inviting people to know Jesus for themselves less as an imposition and more of a chance to connect them with what they have been looking for yet missing all of their lives. Equally important, perhaps we should recognize people’s response to what we share about Jesus is less about accepting or rejecting us and more about them responding to the gift of a new, loving, and liberating relationship the Lord wants to share with them.
Central Thought For Today: The more time we spend with the Lord, the more we can spend our lives in service to him and showing others his life and love.