John 4

Today’s reading is John 4.
Open you journal or Bible to record some observations:

Read John 4.

+ Note/record everyone Jesus speaks to in this chapter.
+ Note/record everyone Jesus spoke to who then told others about him.
My two-year-old granddaughter is obsessed with the figurine of baby Jesus in our nativity set. Every evening she kisses him goodnight, lays him in his manger and nestles it on a branch of our Christmas tree. Then she lays Mary and Joseph on a nearby window ledge. In the morning, she greets Jesus with a kiss and reunites him with his mommy and daddy.

After moving the family to the kitchen table one day and assuring baby Jesus of her love, she asked, “Grammy, we have baby Jesus. Is there a little boy Jesus, too?”

I gave her question some thought. “The real baby Jesus did grow into a little boy. So, I imagine there are little boy Jesus dolls, too.” I thought that was the end of the conversation, but my granddaughter wasn’t finished.

“Can Jesus talk?”

The innocence, the beauty, the depth, and the truth of her question left me speechless. In three short words she encapsulated the longing of every human heart. When darkness and loss close in, when the world is not as it should be, whether we believe in a higher being or not, we ask God the same question. ‘Please,’ we beg and plead, ‘talk to us.’

In John 4, Jesus talks to his disciples, all Jews who share his faith. He also associated with people outside the Jewish faith. The Samaritan woman’s belief system was viewed by Jews as an unholy mix of Jewish and foreign customs. The official in Capernaum was most likely a Gentile centurion in the service of the nasty Herod Antipas.

Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman whose life was a confused litany of broken relationships. He spoke to the official from Caperenaum who believed Jesus was his dying son’s last hope of life. Jesus spoke to them, and in turn, they told everyone they met, entire towns and households about him.

What Jesus said to them and what they said about him was so mind-boggling, so life-changing, that the disciple John wrote down their words. Today, two thousand years later, in the middle of a pandemic, in this bleak midwinter, we can hear Jesus talk to us. And we can share his words of life and light with those around us, whether or not they share our belief system. Which brings me back to my granddaughter, whose love for baby Jesus is pure and kind and very immature.

‘Well,’ I said, ‘he doesn’t talk like we’re talking right now, because he doesn’t live on earth anymore. But people wrote down stories about him when he was alive, and those stories are in a book called the Bible. Some of those stories are about baby Jesus. When we read those stories, he talks to us.’

She picked up her baby Jesus, gave him a kiss, and began talking to him. I watched her and whispered a prayer. ‘Thank you, Jesus, for speaking truth to me through this sweet child.’

Just for today-

+ Review the list of people who talked to Jesus. What is Jesus showing you about how engage in conversation with those who share your faith? With those who don’t?
+ Think back over the past few days. How has Jesus spoken to you either through his word or through other people?
+ Thank God for speaking to you and ask him to increase your ability to hear him speak and to speak to others.
Jolene Philo | Author

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