When you were little, did you enjoy car rides with your parents? I know I did. It seems like most of my memories of being a child revolve around car rides. We didn’t have money when I was young, so my parents found joy in driving around, looking at big houses, dreaming. Driving around, browsing through car dealership (after hours of course), dreaming. My father particularly loved to drive to train yards, or railways and watch trains pass by, dreaming. (My father now has a very successful career as a train engineer. His dream became a reality for him!)
Often times your memories of childhood are often skewed ever so slightly from the reality of the situation. But, I remember many many car rides. And many times when we would ask where we were going, the answer was “On a drive.” We were never upset about the drives, but the truth was, the drive was more about my parents than it was about us…or so we thought.
I imagine that’s how the disciples felt in John 4.
4 Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
Some historical reference of this text would tell you that Samaria was not a place for Jewish people, let alone JESUS. But, when they got to the point in the road where they go straight towards Galilee, or detour through Samaria, he chose to “take a drive”.
In all actuality, Jesus was taking the direct, shorter, more concise path to Galilee, but the path He was taking was painful for the disciples because of their deep seeded hatred for the Samaritans. The custom was for Jews traveling from Judea to Galilee to completely circumvent Samaria altogether. This made what should have been about a 2.5 day trip into a little over a week long journey.
What areas of your lives are you circumventing and making excuses for because walking THROUGH something is much more painful than continuing to walk around it?
What are you avoiding?
- Sexual sin?
- Personal convictions?
- Unhealthy relationships?
- Getting an education?
- God’s Call on your life?
- Something else?
We always look at this story as somewhat of a coincidence that Jesus happened apon a well in Sychar, Samaria at the same time as a woman caught in adultery.
We always look at this story as an example of God’s supernatural knowledge of our lives and His grace for our sins.
We always look at this story as it pertains to the woman at the well.
But this story was really very much about the disciples as well.
We know that the disciples were not there, in the midst of the conversation between Jesus and the woman at the well. That too, was likely intentional. But the disciples were very much in Samaria. A land that they may have been through before, but never to converse with or associate with those who resdided there. A land that they referred to with negative conotations and the place that left them with a nasty taste in their mouth. They had been raised and conditioned to hate the place, and the people. And now, their Savior was leading them through the very place they deemed to be useless and dirty.
I can imagine that they were sent off by Jesus into the into the village to get some food, afterall, they were tired and hungry from the journey. He sent them off so that He would have some time with this young lady, without their predispositions on display for her to see.
Can you imagine how uncomfortable they must have felt walking around the town of Sychar, attempting to get some food. There were probably lots of dirty looks from the Samaritans and also utter shock to see a pack of Jewish men walking their streets. People would be whispering under their breath…or not. Calling for family members to come and see the impossible happening right before their very eyes. Snide remarks and cutdowns were probably thrown like bird seed at a wedding, as the disciples briskly walked the market to find food.
What is Jesus asking you to get comfortable with? Even just for a season? Where is He asking you to go and what is He asking you to do that goes against everything you have ever known to be proper and clean?
You see, Jesus came to TELL the woman at the well about the everlasting water and the bread of life.
But He sent the disciples to the uncomftable places to RECEIVE everlasting water and the bread of life.
As this year comes to an end, and life is crazy busy with Christmas parties, programs and presents, allow God to speak to your heart.
Where are you to “go” in 2019? His plan for your life is never ONLY about helping others through you. It’s really more about us becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable and allowing Him to work IN you. My prayer is that when you ask Him “where are we going?” and He responds with “On a drive.” You jump in, buckle up, and watch with wonder at the places He takes you THROUGH so that you can appreciate the place He is taking you TO.
The drive, if you let Jesus sit shotgun and control the wheel, will be filled with elements of stretch and discomfort. Maybe even mockery and dislike. But, when you look back, you will see that you made it to your destination with less callouses on your feet, less fatigue in your mind, and 5 days to spare!
Stay tuned for profound thoughts.