The two encounters with Jesus in this section of scripture are steeped in history and filled with emotion.
Firstly, Jesus encounters a Samaritan women drawing water at a well. The Samaritans, and especially an adulterous one, were totally rejected and hated by the Jewish people in the area. The second encounter was with a wealthy government official from Jesus home whose son was dying. Dramatic, emotional scenes.
The contrasts between the social status of these two people could not be more pronounced. An adulterous women from a rejected people. A powerful and wealthy man from Jesus own people. However it is not their differences that are striking but the similarities.
Both were desperate.
Both had a need.
Both encountered Jesus in a very real, emotional and personal way.
Out of this desperate need they have a life changing encounter. In both cases Jesus works a miracle; one of knowledge and another of healing. However, it was not the miracle itself that lead them to believe but the implications of the miracle on their lives. Jesus breaks through the formalities and enters directly into their world.
He speaks profoundly into the women’s life and calls her to more than she has been living. He doesn’t just heal a random person he heals the son of a desperate father. The heart implications are profound.
Jesus breaks through social convention, he looks past their social status, or lack thereof, and break through to their heart. Jesus’ desire is for us to encounter him at all levels of our personhood. When he works it will change every aspect of who we are.
It is no surprise that often when we feel most drawn to God it is in our seasons of greatest need. However, Jesus point here is that the emotional, physical and intellectual connectedness with the Father is a place he desires for us for all times. He is not just looking for intellectual Christians – though we need to be those too – he is looking for “true worshipers [that] will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.”
Are you open to a heart encounter with Jesus? These two people were transformed by Jesus when they were open to him. Are you willing to be vulnerable with Jesus? Are you desperate for Jesus?
Many Will Proclaim
However, these personal and private encounters with Jesus were transformation beyond themselves. In both cases everyone around them also comes to Jesus. The entire household of the official and many of the local Samaritan proclaim that Jesus “is indeed the saviour of the world.”
When we encounter Jesus ourselves, the people around us will also encounter him. The effectiveness of our church will always be related to the degree which we have relationship with Jesus ourselves. When we are living in the presence of Jesus and allowing him to shape us the world around will respond accordingly.
I’ve studied this section of scripture a thousand times. But today it spoke afresh to me. There are many other points to explore in this passage but the question today is simple: will you allow Jesus to engage your heart?
A prayer for today:
“Jesus I desire to know you. Not just know about you but to know you but to Encounter you, to walk with you every moment of the day. I pray that you will fill me with the kind of life you promised the Samaritan women and the kind of nourishment that flows from following you. Help me to have a soft and tender heart to how you desire to me move. Teach me to walk in your presence and to be desperate for you.”