As you know, I usually do most of my own writing on this blog, with occasional small quotes from other sources. However, today, as I was cleaning out some old email, upon discovering that AOL has done some housecleaning for me of which I'm not to pleased to find out, I came across a devotional that I would like to share. This devotional was sent to me by Becky Kinney, an employee at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes headquarters here in Kansas City. I'm assuming that she wrote it personally as I see no other credit given.
To me this devotional hit home because I wonder how many opportunities or "God moments" we miss because we are too busy or perhaps not walking with God as closely as we should. I hope it impacts you as it did me ... to open my eyes to be watchful for what God has for me each day. Enjoy!
Thirsty To Be Loved - by Becky Kinney
February 14, 2006
|Mary Alice was sitting in her car in the parking lot of the local Walmart listening to Tony Evans on her favorite Christian radio station. She had her Bible sitting in her lap and was content as she waited for her daughter to grab the few things she needed in the store. She notice that a young woman was sitting in the car next to her. Out of the corner of her eye she could tell the woman had noticed her also. After a few minutes the other woman got out of her car and started to head for the store. Mary Alice was surprised to see her hair was streaked with a bit of purple and spiked all over. As the young woman walked past the open car window, she immediately turned around and asked Mary Alice if she was listening to Tony Evans, because she too had been listening. What an amazing encounter! God had placed both of these women in a parking lot with something wonderful in mind. This stranger, who seemed so different than Mary Alice asked her if she enjoyed reading her Bible and of course Mary Alice's answer was "Yes, do you?" "Well, I have a Bible, but I have trouble understanding what it says," she responded. Then out of the blue, she asked Mary Alice if she would have time to meet with her and help her to study it. They met the following week and a wonderful friendship and mentoring time began. For the past two years, every Thurday morning at 6AM, in Mary Alice's home, they have huddled over their Bibles studing God's Word. I know the Lord is pleased! |
How difficult is it for us to show another person value when they are not like us, when they are not accepted in our world? Would we go out of our way to find such a person? How do we know when God is leading us to step out of our comfort zone and meet the need of someone with whom we have nothing in common? All of us know of someone thirsty to be loved and valued.
The Samaritan woman in John 4:4-42 was that kind of woman. The Samaritans were a mixed race and rejected by the Jews. They worshiped Jehovah, but also worshiped other gods as well. Their land, the people themselves, and even carrying on a conversation with one of them was considered unclean. Any contact with the Samaritans made a Jew unfit for worship.
John 4:3-4 tells us that Jesus “left Judea and went away again into Galilee. And He had to pass through Samaria.” Why did Jesus take his disciples through Samaria, instead of the eastern route? Was his decision based on time (the other route was longer) or was he following a call from the Father to minister to this woman and the city in which she lived? We are told that the disciples went into the city of Sychar to buy food and Jesus stayed at the well outside of town. A Samaritan woman came to draw water and Jesus asked her for a drink. Her response was, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” In short, Jesus lets her know that He can offer her water that will cause her to never thirst again. He offered her kindness, hope and trust. She was thirsty to be accepted and valued, and Jesus reached across barriers of race, gender, language, religion, and disgrace in order to take the drink from her water pot.
Jesus knew this woman’s sinful past and offered her unconditional acceptance. How do you feel when you realize that He knows the truth about you and accepts you as you are?
Can we offer that kind of love and value to others? When we discover another person’s weaknesses, past stories and sins are we able to place a high value on them? Do we have trouble overlooking our own failures and critically judge others?
The disciples returned and “were amazed that He had been speaking to a woman.” Yet not one of them questioned Him. The disciples had gone into town and returned with food and no one followed them out of the city to see Jesus. The Samaritan woman left her pot at the well, ran into the city, and returned with a crowd of people who wanted to know more of this man she spoke of. His disciples were so focused on themselves that they missed the opportunities in front of them to accomplish His work.
“From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all the things that I have done.’ So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of His word.” John 4:39-41
Are we like the disciples…blind to see the opportunities to reach out to someone who is not like us? Christ lives in us, therefore when we touch another, He is also touching them. Let us not be so tangled in our own world that we miss seeing the value of others who are close enough to touch.