I often hear someone say, “when I get to heaven I’m asking Jesus about…” And I always think “no… no you won’t”. Every person who met an Angel in the Bible fell to their knees and that’s from meeting a creature who was in the presence of God. If second hand glory does that, you won’t be able to speak in first hand presence! The gospels record numerous times Jesus spoke with large crowds, measuring in the thousands. But the gospels also share several incidents when Jesus spent time alone with someone, one on one. I am especially drawn to those incidents. Just imagine Jesus, knowing full well the limited time He had on earth and choosing to spend some with a single person.
John 4 – The Samaritan Woman “Who is right?”
John 4:4 records “Now He HAD to go through Samaria”. Although the most direct route between Judea and Galilee, it was through an area considered unclean by the Jews. Their reason for declaring it thus was because of those who lived there. Blood relatives who followed a similar yet different religion made them unclean in the eyes of good Jewish people. I’m sure the Disciples tried to talk Jesus out of going. Surely the longer, more traditional way would be best. But Jesus insisted that He HAD to go; evidently without acceptable explanation. So off they went.
Arriving at about the halfway point just before noon the Disciples went into town to purchase lunch. Jesus decided to wait at the well. The Disciples no doubt passed her on their way in. A single lady coming out of town along the only path between it and the well, they must have passed each other. And yet neither spoke, neither acknowledged the other.
Then she comes to the well where sits Jesus. The lady didn’t notice anything remarkable about him. She only saw the exterior which was clearly Jewish and then comes his question. “Can I have some water?” Seems simple enough on the surface but the feud and bitterness in this relative dispute has been simmering for years. So instead of kindness she senses weakness and pounces. But Jesus doesn’t return the anger no he offers her “living water”. Her interest in this new substance may be completely worldly but Jesus uses it to reveal just exactly who He is.
“Go get your husband.” Those words must have stung. She knows the score. Her lifestyle was tolerated by neither religion. The shame of her past came rushing in. “He won’t know” she thinks and tells Him “I don’t have one”. Then Jesus reveals Himself by telling her what the real truth is. Without judgement or condemnation, Jesus simply states the facts as they are in her life to date. And folks, sometimes facts hurt but they weren’t said accusingly. Jesus told her ALL about herself and then kept on talking with her. It’s at this point that I believe she knows who He is but she hedges her bet by saying that He is a prophet. Now comes her question. Alone with Jesus she asks “which of us is doing it right?” Jews say this mountain and these laws, we say differently. Surely there is only one right answer so which of us got it right.
And Jesus replies “neither”. See it doesn’t matter which building style or set of rules you adhere to. If there is no spiritual connection; then you are doing it wrong. End of statement. God wants us to worship in spirit and truth not location and style. I am so glad that I have the ability to freely enter into a close personal relationship with my God. Free of any regulations or man-made restraints. I can simply come as I am and be loved, corrected and encouraged to keep moving forward.
Now both Jewish and Samaritan texts proclaimed that the Messiah was coming. Their interpretation of those scriptures was that He would come and tell the other side that they were doing it wrong and settle things once and for all. Jesus ends His time with her by fully revealing that He is the Messiah. And off she runs to the town. The Disciples return and their question was why Jesus even bothered speaking to one of “them” at all.
Out of the village comes the entire town stirred up by the lady’s testimony. “He knew everything about me” and spoke to me anyway. They beg Jesus to stay and a two day revival broke out in a little backwoods town, along a dusty road in Samaria.
Why did God choose this town? I haven’t a clue. Why did Jesus choose her? I believe He knew the impact her, the town hussy’s, testimony would have on the rest. I mean if He would want HER then He’ll surely be OK with ME right? Was Jesus trying to mend the relationship between the Jews and Samaritans? Maybe but probably not. What comes out clear in reading the story is that God desires a close intimate relationship with each of us. Don’t get me wrong, I love church and small groups but I treasure my one on one time with God even more. For it’s in those quiet places that I can be completely transparent and know that I’m loved. Let me urge you to spend some one on one time with Jesus today. Time spent alone with God is never wasted.