26 Nov Wait and Listen
Read John 4:1-45
Thought for the Day: I can wait and listen (before reacting).
In the fourth chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus did something astonishing. Rather than walking around the region of Samaria (as was standard for First Century Jewish people), he walked right in, sat down at a public meeting place (a well), and asked the first person he saw (a Samaritan woman) for a drink of water. Amazingly, the Samaritan woman didn’t simply get offended and storm off. As Jews and Samaritans were not on speaking terms, she could have been insulted by Jesus’ attempt to speak with her. When Jesus acknowledged her lifestyle, she once again could have been horribly insulted and stormed off. She stayed and listened to what Jesus had to say.
Living in an extremely divided society, we can find ourselves reacting first and thinking later. The Samaritan woman didn’t do that. Instead, she reserved judgment and stayed for the full conversation. By staying, she was able to hear Jesus’ amazing acknowledgment, “I who speak to you am He” (the Messiah). And – by staying, she was able to foster a small-scale reconciliation. We read in verses 40-41 about how the Samaritans first invited Jesus (a Jewish man) to stay with them and then were open to His teachings. It is important to remember that all of this was only possible because the Samaritan woman stayed. If she had run off, things would have been very different. The Samaritan woman showed us that sometimes the bravest thing we can do is to wait and listen.
Look around at our society today. Waiting and listening unfortunately are not normal. Our society clearly values opinions – spend two minutes on any social media platform and you will come into contact with a variety of strong opinions. But, look hard and it is unlikely you will be able to find instances of people being willing to listen to each other. We need to be more like the Samaritan woman. By waiting before reacting or leaving, she had the opportunity to witness something amazing. By listening rather than arguing, she was able to get the full story. Rather than simply reading headlines and getting angry, she had an amazing encounter with Jesus! Let’s remember the lesson of the Samaritan woman: wait and listen!
Pastors Stan and David