Over the past several months, I’ve had a number of commitments that required more effort, time, and emotional energy than I initially expected. Perhaps Christmastime is that kind of season for you.
Near the end of this demanding time, two friends came alongside me to ask if there was anything they could do to help. Now, I’m not one to turn down good help, but the things that I had left to do, I needed to do. No one else could study for the ladies retreat I committed to teach. No one but me could prepare the songs I agreed to sing, and I alone could spend time in the scriptures allowing them to transform my mind regarding some emotionally difficult situations. Only I could do these things, and they all seemed pressing.
Now that the songs have been sung, the retreat is a mere memory, and my thinking about my difficult situation has become more biblically grounded, I find myself reflecting on the Lord’s goodness to me as he led me through this season. My gratefulness was only enhanced when I began reading the passage about the woman at the well in Sychar.
John, the beloved disciple, tells us of her conversation with Jesus. In all likelihood shame brought her to Jacob’s well in the noonday sun, a time when no one else would be there. But today she wasn’t alone—that was surprising. But when Jesus requested a drink from her, she simply couldn’t believe it. Not in a feministic, “get it yourself” way, but in an incredulous, “I can’t believe a Jewish man is talking to me and willing to drink from the same jug as me” kind of way.
The fact that he wasn’t despising her— neither for her heritage, “for Jews have no dealings with Samaritans” (4:9), nor for her gender “[his disciples] marveled that he was talking with a woman” (4:27)—was truly unbelievable to her.
Yet Jesus wasn’t looking down on her He was offering this shame-filled woman new life.
With the invitation, “Woman, believe me,” Jesus clearly told her what kind of worship God sought and who He was: “I who speak to you am [the Christ].” So why, when she leaves her water jar and goes into town, does she ask the people “Can this be the Christ?” (4:29) He had told her he was. Did she not understand?
Oh, she had understood, for He told her all she had ever done. But she also understood people, and wisely invited her neighbors to decide for themselves if Jesus was the Christ. She knew the evidence was on His side.
There are some things we must do ourselves, and allow others to do for themselves. One of those things is to decide if Jesus could be the Christ. This Christmas share Christ’s story. Invite others to consider “Can Jesus be the Christ?” Then let the Spirit do His convincing, convicting work.