Summary: We need to have new eyes for people, seeing them as being made in the image of God, seeing them as precious like God sees them.
This past week I met a young woman who takes 911 calls. I asked her about the craziest. She said one was the night before Thanksgiving… a woman called screaming. When finally calm enough to understand… she shouted.. “I don‟t know how to cook a turkey.‟
Nothing wrong with wanting to cook a turkey… but she missed the meaning of what was „critical.‟ She‟s missing the bigger picture. We all can when we become too focused and anxious about valuable things that we miss the vital things.
Continuing in our series… a journey with Jesus through the Gospel of John.
As we‟ve journeyed with Jesus through the Gospel of John… we have seen that Jesus comes as the intersection of the eternal realm and the created realm. He has come to reclaim the rule and reign of God… the kingdom of God… and to reclaim and restore lives as children of God. He calls disciples who would join in this process. What he has to impart isn‟t simply that of a religious system or a better interpretation of the Jewish system of Law. He is fulfilling in himself what all such systems pointed to. He is calling them to enter this new intersecting that is revealed in himself. He has called them to join him on a mission „behind enemy lines‟ that they don‟t really grasp… and then he lets the encounters along the way become opportunities to reveal to them what is at hand.
This morning we come to one of those expansive moments.
Chapter 4 - dynamic encounter… that begins with Jesus choosing to go through the land of Samaria… he waits by a well where a women comes out at noon….he speaks into her thirst…she discovers who he is. Now his disciples come back. But now it becomes a dynamic moment to his followers to understand what it represented… to not let the valuable miss the vital…
John 4:27-42 (NIV) 27 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?" 28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him. 31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat something." 32 But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about." 33 Then his disciples said to each other, "Could someone have brought him food?" 34 "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 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. 36 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. 37 Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true. 38 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." 39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers. 42 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."
Remember the chronology of the story. Jesus and the disciples arrive at the well. Immediately, the disciples go into the city to buy food. The woman comes from the city to draw water from the well.
Jesus engages the woman in conversation. Toward the end of that conversation, the disciples return from the city with food. They see Jesus talking to the Samaritan woman, yet no one said, “What do you seek?”, or “Why are you talking with her?” Smart move on the disciples‟ part to keep quiet at this point!
But their discomfort was no secret. The whole choice to travel through Samaria had been strange…. Jesus staying may have seemed strange. That he is talking to a Samaritan…and a women is totally outside their sensibility.
>Which is exactly why this becomes such an essential opportunity.
They are missing the bigger picture. Jesus is in the midst of a feast and they don‟t understand. Many of us can miss the big picture as well. We all can when we become too focused and anxious about valuable things that we miss the vital things.