This post is part of a weekly share of gleanings from the book of John. Click here for more information, and read to the bottom to join the conversation!
Among SO many other things in John 4, I love how Jesus addresses the Samaritan woman, and the route He takes to bring her to Himself as the Living Water and her Savior.
If you've got a minute, read through it, specifically verses 7-30. And while you’re reading, think about that toddler in your life who avoids admitting wrong by diverting your attention to his awesome new somersault skills..
The message in these verses is beautiful: Jesus is teaching her about Himself and the salvation He offers that will quench her thirst eternally, unlike the earthly relationships she has sought over and over that have repeatedly failed to quench her never-ending thirst. His methodology, however, was lost on me until an all too familiar interaction I had with my two year old today.
Maybe you can relate... and maybe among His life-giving words to this woman, He’s giving us an outline, teaching us how to speak His life, love, and forgiveness to our littles when they hide from their sin and divert.
First, note her misunderstanding
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” (vv13-15)
For you, the conversation may start like this:
MOM: “Hey buddy, looks like we’re in time-out again. You know what to work on to keep yourself out of here?”
TODDLER: “Uh huh.” (he misunderstands, starts thinking of all the reasons he doesn’t want to be here… mostly the somersaults he’s not doing right now)
Jesus draws her sin to her mind without actually mentioning it
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” (v16)
And your conversation may continue like this:
MOM: “Go grab your princess wand and bring it to me.”
Note her deception
The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” (v17a)
Y’all, even the sweetest two year olds know how to manipulate and deceive:
TODDLER (shrugs shoulders, confused puppy dog face ensues): “Mom, don't have princess wand.”
He calls out her deception and exposes her sin
Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” (v17b-18)
I know... so. much. cuteness. Don't forget why you're having this talk:
MOM: “You’re right! You don’t have a princess wand! You have had a couple of wands but they’re broken, aren’t they? And the princess wand you just hit your sister with is her’s, isn’t it?”
Note her diversion
The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” (v19-20)
*Actual real-life diversions used daily in our home*:
TODDLER (excited face ON):
“Mom! Bear Comin’!” (runs for cover)
“Hey! Wass ‘at, mom?” (points at mark on the wall)
“Mom, look dis!” (shows you his awesome somersault skills)
Jesus uses the diversion to stay on course
Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. (vv21-22)
I love that Jesus isn’t like, “Woman! Don’t change the subject! We’re talking about YOU!” I know that tends to be my go-to approach (that never ends well)…
Instead, try something like this:
MOM: “That’s a pretty neat somersault, buddy! You’re really good at that! You keep practicing and you’ll get better and better. Practicing things, like somersaults and even not taking things and hitting, really helps you learn a lot!”
Jesus shows her that this is a heart issue
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (vv23-24)
Does she seek to worship at a location out of obligation, or from her heart in spirit and truth?
Here’s how you might direct your toddler in a similar way:
MOM: “You love your sister so much. She sees how sweet you love her when you treat her the same way your heart loves her.”
Jesus brings the Truth... Himself!
The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” (vv25-26)
Look for opportunities to reveal Truth and point to Jesus:
TODDLER: “Daddy come home, be frustrated!”
MOM: “You know, he might be, but guess what! You are growing and learning so much, and daddy loves you! You know who else loves you so much and loves seeing you grow and learn?”
TODDLER: “Ummm…. Daddy!”
MOM: “You bet! And you know who else? Jesus! Jesus teaches us how to love and forgive each other by the way He loves us SO much! He even made a way for us to live with Him in Heaven forever! Pretty neat, huh? Ok, buddy, I know you want to go play. Hey, thanks for talking! High Five!”
TODDLER (jerks his hand away laughing): “Too slow!” (runs off to practice somersaults, but only after telling his sister he loves her and tackling her with a crazy little brother hug.)
Don't stop there!
What happens next is AWESOME... the Samaritan woman left Jesus at the well and brought her whole town back to Him for the Living Water He was giving!
Friends, learn His message and learn His methods. He never did anything wrong, He always spoke life in grace and truth, and He teaches us about Himself through the words He speaks and the way He speaks them. His words will not return empty (Isaiah 55:11), they bear news of a spring of living water that wells up to eternal life... speak them to your littles, and they will speak them to theirs.
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