1–7 July 2018.
One of the things we are all searching for in life is direction. How should I live? What goal and purpose should I direct my life towards? And who can tell me which way I should go?
Today millions of people are desperate to find someone who can give their lives this direction and meaning – and many sadly choose people who are very unworthy. Some people run to film and music stars, others follow authors and self-help advisors, and many seek out all kinds of spiritual teachers, desperate for someone to point their lives in the right direction.
In John 4 we see a similar situation among the Samaritans. Jesus meets a Samaritan woman outside a town by a well, and they quickly get into a long and complicated discussion about faith, politics, and salvation. During that deep discussion, Jesus also mentions some details about that woman’s own relationships. In all of Jesus’s long ministry, those few words hardly count as the most important thing Jesus has ever said. But when the woman goes back into the town, Jesus’s comments about her relationships are the one thing she really remembers. So she tells everyone that she has met a man who knows everything about her – and of all things it’s that testimony that attracts the townspeople to run outside to find Jesus. It sounds crazy.
But luckily once the townspeople actually meet Jesus and hear him speak, they realize that they have found someone far more important than they first imagined. Originally they were drawn to Jesus because of something like a party trick – because Jesus could tell the woman some details about her life. But quickly the townspeople realize that Jesus is much more important than that. They understand the truth about who Jesus is, and the preciousness of his life and gospel. That’s why in v. 42 the townspeople tell the Samaritan woman: “It’s no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”
Like the Samaritans, initially many of us also get drawn to Jesus for the wrong reasons. These are often selfish reasons: we want Jesus to impress us with miracles, to show us party tricks, and give us the things we want. We don’t come to Jesus loving him for who he is or appreciating him for being the true Saviour of the world. That kind of self-centredness is not good, but it is very human. But even if we first came to Jesus for the wrong reasons, I hope that like the Samaritans once we truly understand who Jesus is, we will leave behind our shallow and selfish reasons and instead follow Jesus and believe in him because he truly is the Saviour of the whole world.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis