Sunday, March 14, 2010

Life of Christ Devotional - Jn 4:27-42

"Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him. Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”" (John 4:27-42)

This account in the life of Jesus is a contrast between the insiders and the outsiders. The disciples, the insiders in the story, were men from the chosen nation of Israel. They, of all people, had an “inside track” to understand and know the creator God of the universe. They followed strict rules of diet and purity that gave them their identity as a people of God. This was the reason for their concern about Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman. It was an action at conflict with their insider status.
The woman, on the other hand, was an outsider. Three obvious qualities separated her from the disciples: (1) she was a woman (2) she was a Samaritan woman (3) she was a Samaritan woman with a questionable past. If it was the goal of Jesus to choose people who met a certain standard in order to qualify them for them for his love, this woman would not have a chance with 3 strikes against her.
Yet Jesus reveals that His love has no boundary. He saves, not based on reputation, but based on need. The woman was searching and she had a need for unconditional love and forgiveness. Jesus came to meet that need. He came to seek and save the lost.
Yet the disciples were more concerned with their own physical hunger more than they were the spiritual hunger of the people. They were ready to leave this land of the outsider and get back to people they preferred. But Jesus had a lesson in mind.
The woman had created quite a stir by going around telling everyone in her city about her encounter with Jesus. As she does, Jesus remains outside the city teaching His disciples an important illustration about sowing and harvesting. His lesson was intended to teach the disciples that their new focus must now be shifted from their own personal welfare to a greater concern for others - seeking the needs of others as more important than their own. Even if the “other” is an outsider.
As He gives His message, he directs the attention of the disciples to the city of the Samaritan woman. One by one, people become visible in their white garments as they leave the city in search for the Messiah. It was like a field white and ready for harvest. The sea of people came to Jesus to find answers to their questions and the parable of the harvest had now become a reality. It was time for the disciples to learn what it means to work in the field white for the harvest.
But it was also time for the outsiders to understand the mission of God. They would learn of the redemption of all mankind through Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Like the woman, they would drink deeply from the well that never runs dry, and through faith, they would never thirst again. Their souls are satisfied.
Is your soul satisfied in Him?

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