Be Still Know
John 4:10 NLT
Jesus replied, ‘If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.’
I learned early on that I could be a real bore, especially at social events. A topic might come up that I knew a lot about and I would take the opportunity to hold forth in great detail on the subject. This proved highly energising to me, yet exceptionally tedious to everyone else. I learned that a party is not my soap box.
Why did I feel the need to hold forth so fully? I think it was all about personal insecurity – I knew I had the knowledge on the subject I seized upon – and perhaps it was also about ego; my need to be known as someone knowledgeable. It was who I wanted to be known as, not truly who I was.
Jesus in his conversation with the Samaritan woman is in no way distracted by her jibes about social convention and religious custom. He shows no need to correct her or prove the validity of His own knowledge. Yet, here was the Son of God who definitively could have provided an erudite lecture dispelling all questions and confusions. It’s worth recalling that later he did this appropriately when accompanying two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Here, however, he listens to what lies beyond the question and speaks to the assumptions the woman has made about him, assumptions that fuelled her initial reply. He draws attention to the reality of himself in the context of thirst, given that they are holding their conversation around a well.
Jesus captures the attention of this woman by describing himself as ‘living water’. This is naturally both intriguing and mysterious. It invites further enquiry, and in this way the conversation is continued and expanded. In much the same way as when we meet with those with whom we instinctively disagree, even dislike, we are encouraged to find ways whereby we might expand the conversation so that our own understanding might increase. Better to be intrigued than threatened by difference.
QUESTION: How do you manage your fears of another’s faith, culture or moral choice? Are you instinctively threatened or intrigued by difference?
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, when I open my mouth, help me glorify you and not myself.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright C 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc, Wheaton, Illinois 60189 USA. All rights reserved.