Words of Comfort
Seek Him in genuine love and devotion
Apr 29, 2020 at 11:15 AM
Editor’s Note: With so many churches in our area having to suspend worship services during the coronavirus pandemic, we are asking local pastors to partner with us in bringing a daily message of hope and comfort to readers during this difficult time.
Everything has changed! Not being able to gather with friends in worship is crippling to many people’s faith. They miss singing meaningful songs of faith together with other believers. We are all in need of a good hug or handshake. These activities seem so much at risk. How do we experience the joy of worship and the presence of Christ while watching a computer monitor or television screen?
Two thousand years ago a certain woman could not have felt further away from God. Her people were in constant conflict with “the people of God.” Her personal relationships never seemed to work out and her current love interest was in violation of all religious standards. It was a blazing hot day as she brought a heavy jar to the well to get water for her household.
Jesus had expressed a need to take a different route from Galilee to Jerusalem for a festival. Typically, Jews would follow the Jordan River to Jericho and then take the rocky road up to the holy city. It would be much shorter and easier travel to take the more direct route from Galilee to Jerusalem ... but that meant going through Samaria. The Samaritans were brought in to occupy the Holy Land while the Jews were away in exile hundreds of years earlier. There was no love lost here. While they shared many aspects of their mutual faith, there were also some distinctions that made any hope of reconciliation an impossibility.
Jesus had sent his disciples into town to buy some food. This left him alone to complete his current mission. When he approached Jacob’s Well to get a drink, there was a Samaritan woman completing her chore. He asked her for a drink. She was appalled. This rabbi had crossed multiple lines of offense. A man approaching a strange woman in public was not allowed. A Jew talking with a Samaritan was not kosher. And a rabbi engaging a card-carrying “sinner” was just not permitted. Yet, here was Jesus. He placed himself on a collision course with a woman who was wounded in so many ways.
He asked for a drink. What?! Yes. He was thirsty and he asked for a very personal favor. After some back and forth, Jesus explained she really should be asking him for a drink. His refreshments would mean she would never thirst again and she would actually become a well of living water herself. Now her curiosity was piqued. Like most of us, she began to argue religion with Jesus rather than be honest about her life. When she debated the best place to worship, Jesus pointed out the Father must be worshiped in spirit and in truth. Then he dropped the bombshell: The Father is looking for true worshipers like this. In other words, Jesus went out of his way because his Father was looking for this broken, shame-filled unclean woman to become his worshiper. Never had she found such love. Never. Five broken marriages and a current scandalous relationship, but the Father still came looking.
In our quarantine, we are often alone with our thoughts and emotions. Our past often comes haunting us. These are powerful days to hear the voice of God calling our name. He may be asking you to seek him in genuine love and devotion. Be glad and rejoice!
Greg Burton is pastor at Colonial Heights Baptist Church.