45. Sir, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep (John 4:11).
How like us to expect that God is limited to the same resources that we can see. But Jesus has no need for her bucket or even the well that her daily life depends on. And when He sets out to change her life, He has no need of such natural implements either. We easily forget that we serve the God who created the Universe out of nothing. In our circumstances, we look around for the tools we need, the staff, the weapons, etc. But God is greater than we know and He has no need of starter material. What He does look for is our faith that He can and will be sufficient for our need.
44. If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink (John 4:10).
The woman is stunned that a Jewish man would ask her for a drink. She perceives the sociological gap between them and can’t imagine why he would span it. But Jesus’ words show that she doesn’t understand the even wider gap between them. For He is God and He has water that will change her life forever. If she had any idea of that gap, she would pleadingly offer her cup to be filled. This is the true gap between us and the God we serve. When we forget that gap, we fail to ask for what He truly has available to us and we are less than we could be.
43. You are a Jew, I am a Samaritan (John 4:9).
How quickly we look for the walls that separate us. They are so familiar to us that we feel we must find them so we can define the box we live in. Here, the woman is more aware of why this conversation shouldn’t happen than she is ready to rejoice that it could happen. Now, this moment will turn out well for her, but how many valuable moments do we miss because of the boxes we prefer to live in? How quickly do we disregard the possibilities of a new day in favor of the days we already know–many of which are unsatisfactory and bring us great unhappiness?
42. Now, he had to go through Samaria (John 4:4).
Truth is, there’s no evidence as to why Jesus “had to” go through Samaria. The well at Sychar wasn’t on the way to anywhere he was headed. The only cause we can see is that He had to connect with a woman in need. This is the amazing truth of the incarnation. God is compelled to come and to seek out those who are lost and to open the door of love, relationship, and Heaven to even the most broken. He had to. Why? We see mercy as a choice, but it is a piece of His nature. The only One who can compel God to action is God himself and this is who He is. He had to go to Samaria and the collective wisdom of His traveling party wouldn’t stop Him. In the same way, He had to come to you.
41. When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea (John 4:3).
As Jesus became aware of the Pharisees and their observation that His crowds had become larger than John’s, He chose to leave the area and return to Galilee. Jesus demonstrated great sensitivity to the timing of His conflict with religious leaders. Thats a good lesson for us. When we are opposed by others, we must also consider the timing of our conflict. Shall we engage conflict just because it’s there? No, but there will come a later time when the conflict must be encountered. For Jesus, the timing connected to His sacrifice. For us, that future conflict may become greater as well.
40. He must become greater; I must become less (John 1:30).
Is this the path we’re on? Are we looking to diminish so that Christ can be more clearly seen? When we accept accolades or allow people to focus on our achievements, aren’t we making ourselves greater? In such moments, Christ’s presence and His equipping take a back seat or serve as a platitude or afterthought. We celebrate our achievements and fail to give appropriate glory and credit to Him. Little wonder He must later take from us in order to bring us back down to appropriate size. He loves us too much to let us be inflated by pride for long.
39. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listen for him (John 3:29).
In John’s self-deprecating speech, he provides a valuable description of right relationship with Christ. We wait and listen for Him. When we think of our relationship with Christ as similar to a peer friendship, we forget the nature of our connection. He is God. He is the One who has redeemed us and commissioned us. We exist for His purposes. So when we seek direction, we seek His. He is the Master of our purposes and Lord of our lives, Ours is to wait and listen, and then ultimately do the things He sets before us. Yes, Jesus is our friend, in a way similar to others who love us and have our best interests in view. But He is not our friend in the “arm-in-arm” equality of a school chum. He is God Incarnate, far more than what others realize. But we know who He is and we should respond to Him as though we know.
38. A man can receive only what is given him from heaven (John 3:27).
Some perceive John’s ministry as being diminished by the rise of Jesus’ ministry. No longer is the Baptist the desert draw he had once been, but now Jesus and His healing miracles are drawing the crowds. How does John respond? John expresses no sense of threat in this, but seems content to do the work God has gifted him to do, while also rejoicing in the ministry his cousin is demonstrating. A leader must not covet the ministry of another, but learn to be content in what he is gifted to do.
37. Men loved darkness rather than light (John 3:19).
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised when sinners make choices that contradict God’s Word. Often, it seems the modern church reacts to sinfulness with an outrage that seems to imply such behavior was unexpected. Really? If the righteous can be expected to act righteously (hardly a given) then shouldn’t those who have not chosen righteousness be expected to act according to the path they have chosen? Mankind prefers to live and to act under the cover of darkness because there is a need to keep those actions hidden from the consequence of judgment. When such behaviors are brought into the light, they cannot endure the scrutiny of others. Once a choice is brought into the light, it’s power is gone and a price must be paid.
36. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world (John 3:17).
Many of God’s modern servants could use a dose of this reality. Condemnation and judgmental attitudes toward the world are commonplace in modern Christianity, at least in our nation. But Jesus’ mission was never to condemn the world. He did judge the inner thoughts and attitudes of religious people, an experience that many Christians likely would not find attractive, but He didn’t criticize the Roman culture or the broken behaviors of those on Jerusalem’s streets. He loved them, demonstrating the familiar truth of the preceding verse. His servants have that same mission and need to recognize that judgmental attitudes don’t change people’s hearts. Instead that spirit pushes people away. Love, as it turns out, is the only thing that changes people.