Today’s Reading: John 3 and 4
If you have been reading my blog posts for the whole year, you know it is hard for me to admit that I love movies. When I ws growing up I spent a lot of time in front of the television when I should have been running in the park (thus my current too short for my weight issue). In the 1980’s when VHS came out I was a regular at my local video stores. To this day I have built relationships with the clerks of those video rental shops. I bought my first DVD player in 1999 and was a NetFlix customer in their first years. Now I have the ability to stream movies over broadband. What a concept!
Sure I like action and suspense, drama and comedies. But what really gets me interested in a movie is great dialog. I love seeing characters make convincing arguments or have intellectual observations. I love sincere conversations between two characters.
Today’s reading reminded me of my love for well written dialog. Today we see how well Jesus talked to people, average people, people like you and I.
In the first dialog (John 3) we find the famous conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a well educated Pharisee and Jesus knew exactly how to talk to him. Jesus knew exactly how to reach into Nicodemus’ world to draw Nicodemus into a conversation. Jesus knows how to get Nicodemus’ attention with the idea of being “born again” or “born from above”. This grabs his attention and the dig in deeper. As the conversation moves forward Jesus pulled reference to Moses and tradition rabbinical teaching (vs. 13 – 14). Finally, having Nicodemus’ complete attention, Jesus shares the key to his whole existence (vs. 16 – 21).
Eventually Nicodemus believes what he has heard. He becomes one of the people to attend to Jesus’ body after the crucifixion (John 7:45-51, John 19:39-42).
In the second dialog (John 4) we find Jesus talking to the most common of people. As a matter of fact it was a person that no one would expect a Jewish man to talk to, a Samaritan woman. Jews did not respect Samaritans and men would not have talked to a woman alone. But Jesus reached out to her. He easily took what she was doing (drawing water from a well), and turned it into a conversation about eternity.
John 4:7 – 11 (NLT)
7When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" 8(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
10Jesus 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."
Jesus and the woman have a longer conversation. The conversation helps demonstrate Jesus’ divinity and ability to address people where they are at. It is not a monolog or a sermon, but a dialog, between two people, standing at a well
Ultimately, the woman is convinced that she has met the long awaited messiah and she returns to her village (without her jar of water) to tell everyone the good news.
John 4:39 – 42 (NLT)
39Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." 40So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41And because of his words many more became believers.
42They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world."
How I wish that I could to speak to others the way that Jesus did. He knew who they were, he knew how to reach into their worlds and bring truths to the conversations. He did not preach or demand any sort of obedience. He shared that he knew who they were and what they wanted. He shared that he had what they sought. He provided insights and answers.
Chiefly I think he knew people. He knew their aches and pains, their trials and tribulations, their doubts and fears. If we can try to know people as Jesus knew people – maybe then we can begin to have an impact in their lives.