John’s account of Jesus’ encounters with Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman (whom I will refer to as Sam), provide bookends to the spectrum of those who approach Jesus. While they have many similarities, as archetypes, they couldn’t stand farther apart. Male/female, judge/judged, night/day, scholar/worker, Jew/Samaritan. But, in the course of their life, either from direct action or consequence, they both have an encounter with Jesus. Both of these individuals live in the weeds of day-to-day life. Whether it be the minutia of the law of the tediousness of retrieving water, their focus is on their day-to-day work. Both also have very specific definitions of how things work in the world, particularly in regard to relationships between people and God.
While Jesus does engage them where they are, His focus is not their focus. They are in the weeds. They are in the arguments of differences. They are in the weeds of power and peoples’ judgments of other people.
But Jesus starts at the mountaintop, not in the weeds. With Nic, He starts with being born again into eternal life. With Sam, He talks about gifts and fulfillment to never thirst again and true worship. With both he speaks truth, about where they are now, but with a focus on where they can go.
How about in your life? As you study these passages and reflect on your own life, are you in the weeds or are you keeping an eye on the mountaintop? It is easy to feel lost, to lose joy, to become afraid and worried and concerned, if we live heads-down in the weeds. But, if we start each day’s journey with a reminder of the eternal gifts that await us, it brings fresh power and joy.
This is also the same way we should address those we evangelize. Do you find yourself in denominational arguments, or discussions over minute details of belief in the Lord? Or, do you focus on the big gift and each of our desire for fulfillment, joy, relationship and eternal life?
If you knew the gift of God, If you knew who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water – I seek the gift of God in prayer, in scripture and in trusting in Him each day, both to provide for me and my family, to help me grow in holiness and to show me how I can serve Him and His Kingdom
Both Nic and the Sam were solidly fixed in the physical world and missed the spiritual message. Nic saw a Rabbi, Sam saw a Jew (someone who acts superior). Nic came at night, Sam in mid day. Nic sought something from Jesus, Sam didn’t want anything to do with Jesus. Nic praised Jesus, Sam’s words had attitude/scorn.
Jesus did not respond in kind but spoke to them with a gift/offer at no cost. He focused not on the physical, but the eternal.
Do not start at their arguments but at the gift from God. It is about spirit, not physical. When their soul not their hangups.
They worshiped the Lord AND other gods. They worked against the rebuilding of the temple
Language impatience. Lack of cultural understanding (TLPN)