In John 4, Jesus was on his way from Judea to Galilee and verse 4 says that “he had to pass through Samaria.” The most direct route from Judea to Galilee did pass through Samaria, but Jesus never really seemed to be one who cared about taking the most direct route. He was more about the journey, the process, and the people than the destination. Plenty of folks took the detour around Samaria just to avoid “those people,” and certainly Jesus could have averted his eyes, quickened his pace and taken the long road around. I don’t think it was geography that compelled Jesus to Samaria. I think it was grace.
When he sat down for a rest at Jacob’s well, I believe it was grace that compelled Jesus to look into the eyes of this Samaritan woman and speak powerfully to her need.
When “those people” heard her story and prevailed on Jesus to tell them more, I believe it was grace that compelled him to stay, to linger, for two more days.
When others turned their heads, I believe it was grace that compelled Jesus to speak the words of truth that drew many more into belief.
We say we know him. We say we follow him. We say that grace compels us too.
And so we must ask…
What is our Samaria? Who are “those people” for us? You know, the ones from whom we avert our eyes, quicken our pace and take the long road around.
Does this same grace compel us not only to “pass through” their lives but to look into their eyes, to speak words of truth, to linger?
There are a few folks in my life who model this so well. It is crazy hard for me. But this week, I’m choosing the crazy hard obedience of lingering. This week, I’m choosing to be compelled by grace.