Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:10)
THE GIFT OF GOD
The story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well (John 4:1-42) is one of the great stories in the New Testament. It is a story about the power of real conversation... a story about moving past initial misunderstandings... a story about what can happen when we are willing to break the current “rules” of society... a story about faith... a story about transformation... a story about sharing good news with others. I urge you to read and contemplate the entire story.
For today, though, I want to focus on one of the ways that Jesus describes himself to the woman - “gift of God.”
Jesus was and is God’s gift to the world.
In sending his Son, God gave himself - for us. (It is mid-August, but the Christmas readings are ringing in my ears right now. “For a child has been born for us, a son given to us... and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” - Isaiah 9:6; “... I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people; to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” - Luke 2:10b-11)
Jesus was sent for us; Jesus is God’s gift - for us!
Jesus is the gift of God who shows us how to love.
Jesus is the gift of God who saves us from our foolish, death-causing ways, and leads us into abundant, never-ending life.
Jesus is the gift of God who calls us out of our egocentric ways, to serve others and God’s creation, in ways that we could not have imagined.
Jesus is the gift of God who sees us as we are, loves us continually, and calls us beyond our fears and self-imposed limitations. (“Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” - John 4:29)
The woman left the well, went back to her city, and began telling others of this man she had encountered, this gift of God. And he offered himself to those folks, too.
How has Jesus been the gift of God in your life? How have you been rescued, guided, and transformed by Him? How has your life been enhanced and even radically changed, because you encountered and then latched on to the gift of God?
And - perhaps you thought I was going to stop right there - how has God worked through you, so that YOU have been the gift of God to someone else, or the gift of God to another part of God’s creation? How have you become a “little Christ”?