Each and every day, you and I will find ourselves sitting, standing, conversing or working with someone. But how often do we find ourselves actually sitting with another person long enough to make spiritual contact? When we do take the time, do we make ourselves available to God for His purposes? A friend of mine was required, for a pastoral care class, to spend a night as a chaplain’s assistant in the emergency room of a hospital.
Early one morning, a woman was brought into the ER who had tried to take her own life—or at least that’s what her wounds suggested. After the doctors bandaged up her wrists and got her stabilized, they left her alone in an exam room. My friend ventured into the room to see if he might minister to her in some way. He did the best he could to comfort her and share God’s love with her, when all of a sudden, she blurted out, “Who are you—Jesus?!”
No, my friend wasn’t Jesus. But I have no doubt that Jesus was there in that emergency room, using my friend to bring hope and heart-healing to a woman who needed both. When we, as Christians, sit down next to someone who needs God’s truth and love, we are simply doing what Jesus would do if He were here in the flesh.
An Important Encounter
Jesus was a Jew, and the woman He encountered in John 4 was a Samaritan. When the Jewish remnant returned from captivity in Babylon to Jerusalem and found that Jews in Samaria had intermarried with pagans, the Jewish leaders in Judea declared them (the Samaritans) unclean.
Samaria was located between Judea and Galilee on the west side of the Jordan River. When Jews from Judea wanted to travel from Jerusalem to Galilee, they would cross over to the east side of the Jordan so as not to contaminate themselves by traveling through Samaria.
But when Jesus needed to travel to Galilee, He traveled directly through Samaria instead of taking the detour. Near the Samaritan town of Sychar, Jesus and the disciples stopped to rest: “Jesus… sat thus by [a] well,” hoping to get a drink of water (John 4:6). The disciples went into the village to buy food and “a woman of Samaria came to draw water” at the well (verse 7).
Jesus needed a drink of water, and the woman had a “waterpot” (verse 28), so He asked her for a drink. That led to a discussion about water, then living water, then the woman’s interest in having living water, then Jesus’ inquiry about her husband and subsequent revelation about her past multiple marriages and current cohabitation with a man who wasn’t her husband. And suddenly the woman was convicted of sin even though Jesus had said nothing about sin. The Holy Spirit caused her to see that she was in the presence of a prophet of God, indeed, the Prophet of Israel, the Messiah (John 16:8).
So the woman left her waterpot by the well and hurried back to her village, telling the people what had happened. “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman” (John 4:39). All because Jesus sat down and engaged the first person who entered His life when He stopped for a drink of water.
Be Willing to Sit
I believe Jesus wants to sit and talk with people today just like He did in Samaria nearly two thousand years ago. The only difference is that He needs to speak to them through us. We have to be willing to sit, be present, be kind and compassionate, and follow the Spirit’s leading as we discover why God has led us to speak with a particular individual.
Jesus started with a drink of water. And it led to a group of downtrodden Samaritans entering the Kingdom of God. Trust God to give you wisdom and the words to share with people you encounter in your daily life. A word or act of love in a busy and uncaring world may be exactly what that person sitting next to you needs. Let God lead you.
Jesus always let the person’s need determine what He said or did. At times it was teaching, and other times it was healing, encouragement, or forgiveness. Jesus wants to continue sharing living water with the lost today, and He wants to do it through you.
David Jeremiah is the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California, and the founder and host of Turning Point for God. For more information about David Jeremiah and Turning Point, visit www.DavidJeremiah.org.
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