Stories are powerful. There’s a reason why fiction is a top selling genre and the movie industry is so big and influential in our culture. People connect with stories. It resonates with them on a personal, emotional, and experiential level. Stories can shape people’s opinions, perspectives, values, and worldview. They also have the potential to impact people’s future and change the trajectory of their lives.
Have you ever experienced burn out? After an extended period of pouring effort, time, and energy into a project, job, or relationship, have you ever felt that it was all for naught? It’s a sinking, discouraging feeling that can drain all the motivation and enthusiasm for future endeavors right out of you.
While this is not a positive experience for any part of life, burn out and discouragement while serving the Lord is detrimental to our spiritual health. We are called to a life of sacrificial service which will require pouring time, energy, and effort into people and opportunities that may or may not reap immediate rewards. So as we do life and follow Christ’s call to sacrificial living, how do we avoid burn out and spiritual complacency from discouragement and fatigue
“‘But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am he.’”
The narrative of the woman at the well in John 4 is a beautiful story of redemption, compassion, and unconditional love. Many excellent teachers have given powerful messages on this passage of Scripture; therefore, I am not going to attempt to unpack the many levels of deep truth and implications from this story. However, there are a couple points that are worth pondering before we leave this passage.
As we noted last time, Jesus broke the mold and crossed cultural boundaries to make this story possible. However, Jesus also went to the least likely and embraced her for who she was and sought to give her life and hope. He wasn’t put off by hard exteriors, and He wasn’t afraid to look people straight in the eye in the midst of their pain. In fact, Jesus wasn’t hesitant to probe the wounds in order to bring healing, for he knew that before healing and restoration can be given, the pain and brokenness of the past must be dealt with.
“Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.”
In the heat of the day along a less traveled dirt road, the Son of God had a divine appointment with the most unlikely of people. However, that’s often the way God works, arranging meetings at times and in places that are most uncommon and with the most unexpected people. We must be open and available to take the road less traveled and see the people the world overlooks, because in these opportunities God often has great things in store.