Have you ever found yourself somewhere you knew you didn't belong?
We often find ourselves divided. We avoid people who are a different race, a different class, have had a different type of education, or who have different political opinions. We separate ourselves, and build walls instead of bridges.
When we follow Jesus, though, we have a mandate to do the exact opposite. The enemy would love to divide us, but God says "you don't get to do that." We don't get to avoid people. We are called to intentionally pursue people who are different from us because it provides an opportunity for the kingdom of God to flourish.
And, as always, Jesus provides a perfect example. Take a look at chapter four of John. Jesus, tired after a long journey, rests by a well. But it's not just any well. It's the well that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Oh, and it happens to be in Samaria, home to a group of people that were about as different as Jesus's culture as you could get.
But He Went There Anyway
As a Jew, Jesus has no business in Samaria. But He's there, and, what's more, he starts to talk to a woman. A woman drawing water at a well. It's not just strange that He's doing this - at the time, it's inappropriate. The well had romantic connotations, and if anyone saw Him there, talking with a woman, they would start to draw conclusions.
As the woman comes to draw water, He asks her for a drink. She points out the fact that His presence and His request were not particularly appropriate. Here's how He answers:
"Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:10)
We're seeing Jesus be very intentional. Not only is He in a place He has no business being, not only is He with someone He shouldn't be with, but He engages her. And He offers her just what she needs.
How many of us have been in a place we shouldn't? And how many of us were found by Jesus in exactly that place?
But it gets better.
Bring Me Your Husband
The woman hears what Jesus is offering and she knows she wants in. But Jesus asks her to do something first:
16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” (John 4:16-18)
Jesus knows this woman is no ordinary woman. He knows she has a past. He knows what she needs. But He also loves her too much to leave her where she is.
So He says "Get your husband."
He says "Go get the area of your life marked by guilt."
He says "Bring me the area of your life stricken by struggle."
He says "Bring me the greed, the insecurity, the pride, the arrogance."
He says "Bring me the broken marriage, the bitterness, the addiction."
He says "Bring it all to me. Bring me what you're harboring and hiding. I love you too much to leave you this way."
A Divine Invitation
The holidays are here, and with them every chance to encounter people who are different than who you usually see. And that gives us a choice: do we turn away, or do we engage?
This season, God may give you an opportunity. You may have a divine appointment. You may be able to extend a divine invitation to encounter a divine God. Maybe you ask someone to come to church. Maybe you meet to intentionally study the Bible with someone. Maybe you just share the light and love of Jesus Christ with someone. Maybe you share a hope you've found.
Or maybe you're experiencing a divine appointment right now. Maybe God is extending a divine invitation to you as you read this, calling you to bring Him your area of weakness. What do you need to surrender to Him today so that you can receive His living water?
When you find yourself somewhere you shouldn't be, what will you do? Your divine appointment is waiting - are you ready to accept it?