Good Evening everyone,
I had a very full day today – lots left to take care of still, so I am going to have to be much briefer. But it seems impossible to write briefly since,each chapter is so rich and full of insights into the Jesus. I do feel that I am growing to know Him more and more each day on a much deeper level as I take time to put myself into the story and study each sentence and interaction in great detail. Our family has been having such passionate discussions each day around the table about what we are learning and we have a hard time stopping. Our bible studies lately have been lasting well over an hour and we reluctantly pack away our Bibles to move on to breakfast. I hesitate some with what to share, because I am sure parts of these studies will become future sermons that Mark shares with you. 😉
The most obvious lesson I am learning over and over again is that Jesus was not consumed, constrained or conformed to this life on earth. He lived n the confines of the physical world, yet His thoughts, words and actions always pointed people to the spiritual.
- Everything about Him was conformed and consumed with the spiritual realm. In that day and age, a Jew would have walked around Samaria. Yet Jesus brought with the norm and traveled through Samaria.
- He had physical needs: He was thirsty and He was weary, but neither of those things kept Him from His mission.
- Jesus made every interaction an opportunity to share about spiritual things. While His disciples were off gathering food in the town, He was “sharing His faith” with a Samaritan woman. He started a conversation around water (I liken it to standing around a water cooler at work). I wonder, how many people did the disciples talk with in the town about Jesus while they were away gathering food.? I imagine not anyone. (they were after all, in Samaria) It wasn’t the acceptable thing to do. In fact, they were surprised when they returned, to find Jesus speaking with a Samaritan woman. (But notice they didn’t say anything about it to Jesus v. 27). It seems they too were cautious, like Nicodemus. Perhaps they were afraid of looking stupid, so they held their tongues. Both the Samaritan woman and the disciples persisted in thinking of the physical world. She questions what kind of special water Jesus has that will never make her thirst again(physical), yet Jesus talked of and internal spring welling up to eternal life. (spiritual). The disciples, when told by Jesus that He has food that they know nothing about(spiritual), wonder who brought Him food (physical).
The disciples had already seen Jesus do miracles. They had a “testimony” to share, yet it seems pretty apparent that they didn’t share anything with anyone while they were in the town. If they had, wouldn’t people have followed them back to see the Jesus they spoke of? Instead, it was the Samaritan women who went and brought the town back with her. And even then, the disciples didn’t get it. It amazes me how patient Jesus was with them though they come across very thick headed.
It is amazing to me that in vs. 30, John relates that the whole town was coming out to see Jesus following the woman who told them all about her interaction with Jesus. And right after they are appearing on the horizon Jesus says, “Do not say four more months and then comes the harvest. Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are ripe for harvest? Ummm…. look up disciples. Can’t you see what is coming to us? And yet again the disciples were thinking in terms of the physical world. I imagine them looking out. Maybe even over the heads of all the towns people coming towards them and searching the fields, thinking to themselves, “what are you talking about Jesus?’ The harvest won’t be ready for 4months. I don’t see any ripe fields ” They totally miss it. They were blind and deaf because they saw and heard only in terms of the physical world around them. They looked out and saw nothing. But Jesus looked out and saw a field of souls streaming towards him. Jesus saw souls. He had done the work of sharing spiritual things with a woman who then brought out the whole town. Jesus sowed while they failed to open their mouths because it wasn’t the acceptable to speak with the people of Samaria. They missed an opportunity. Jesus seized an opportunity. Jesus was always about His Father’s purpose.
These teachings challenge me to the core as a disciple of Christ. I am to be like Jesus. That is what I committed to when I committed to following Him. I am to grow in His likeness. Do I always see every interaction as an opportunity to share about the Father and things spiritual? Am I held back by fear because of how someone looks or dresses ? Do I limit my interactions to those people I feel comfortable around? Am I willing to be very different from the world around me and not be constrained by what everyone else considers “normal?” Do I try to be safe and not stick out too much in crowd? Am I afraid of being labeled a certain way if I am bold in my speech? If I answer yes to any of these, then I am not imitating Jesus. He shows me chapter after chapter what my interactions with others should look like. I pray that I and we will all overcome our fears and be consumed with Christ rather than be constrained by this world.