John 4:4 “He had to go through Samaria on the way…”
The encounter of Jesus and the Samaritan woman is a story I’ve heard multiple times over the years. But I recently heard a message from Albert Tate that fleshed out this story in a fresh, radical way. It touched me so much I feel compelled to share it. I hope it impacts you as well.
When Jesus made the decision to go through Samaria, it was a huge ordeal. He was intentionally choosing to venture into a place that was hostile towards Jews. Samaritans and Jews clashed. Jews simply did NOT associate with Samaritans. At all!
And to get to where he needed to go, he did NOT have to go through this area. It was inconvenient. Out of the way.
But scripture says “had to go”?
Not for the sake of convenience, but for the sake of the gospel. The good news of the gospel is for everyone.
Even the Samaritans.
In his recent message, Albert Tate put it like this:
“When you follow Jesus you don’t go around Samaria, you go through Samaria. You don’t go around people, you engage people. People that don’t look like you, people that don’t vote like you. All people. Ministry is waiting on the other side of your discomfort.”
This really stirred up my heart.
I don’t want to be guilty of limiting my love to only those I feel comfortable with.
Or only to those who will love me back.
Am I truly letting the love of Jesus flow through me to everyone I encounter?
Do I ever avoid situations because certain people will be there?
In other words, do I purposely go around certain people instead of going straight through to them?
I’m honestly asking God to search my heart and show me where I don’t get this right. To show me those places, people and situations where He wants me to go through.
It’s easy to say that I’m being obedient to God’s call in ministry when I’m with people I can relate to.
I’m confident and comfortable pouring into single moms because I truly understand the path they are on. I have no problem running straight through to them!
I’m comfortable talking to women who struggle with depression and anxiety. I truly understand their hurting hearts. I’ve been there frequently! I’m fine with going through to where they are. I’ll even pull up a chair and savor coffee with them.
But what about someone who I have NOTHING in common with? What about women who don’t believe the same way I do? What about women from a different culture? Different political views? Different world view?
If I were sitting across from someone like this in a coffee shop, face-to-face, how would I respond?
Would I have the words to carry on a conversation? Would it feel awkward? Would I be uncomfortable? Would I feel like going around them even though I know I’m supposed to be right there with them?
I’m asking God to do a work in me so that no matter who I come in contact with, that He can use me.
To spread His love. Share His grace.
I don’t want to be known as a woman who avoids the uncomfortable, but chooses to share the comfort of Jesus.
I don’t want to be known as a woman who only loves the lovable, but shows grace to the unlovable.
Yes, I want to be a woman who engages all people, no matter what.
Lord help me not go around those you’ve put in my path, but to go straight through with the love and grace you’ve given to me.
Blessings to you!
Check out my devotional book, Embracing The Race.