It’s THERE! Right THERE! In John 4…I’ve never seen it before. All I’ve ever noticed is her, her problem, her lack, her scarcity. But today, I saw ours…our problem, our lack – the scarcity in the life of a leader, in the person of Jesus. It’s there in the words, “Jesus tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well.”
Exhaustion is no joke.
Think about it. Just prior to this passage, Jesus had been cajoled by his mother to perform his “ministerial duties” at what he thought was just going to be a party for some friends getting married. (Ever gone to what you thought was a social event and ended up having to put on your ministerial cap?) He’d lost his prophetic mind over the injustices of the temple. (Good thing he didn’t have twitter). He’d been misunderstood and questioned by a religious authority, someone with “sound theology.” (Kind of like being stopped after a sermon and asked to explain what exactly you meant). He’d even gotten caught up in a dispute about numbers (who gets to count which baptisms and who had more). He’s surrounded by a bunch of followers, most of whom struggled to get him and questioned his rationale…often! And now…now he’s in a land that I’m sure he didn’t really want to be in. Samaria cities are not first picks but divine assignments. And now…he’s sitting in a valley where some of the most important historical events had taken place in the life of his people, in the valley of the remnants of what might have been.
And he’s tired. Really tired.
Today I thought…dude that’s tough. I don’t know if you know this Jesus, you are only 4 chapters into a 21 chapter story. It’s a little early to be that tired. You’ve got quite a way to go.
And when we are tired…well let’s be honest. We isolate. We grow resentful. We scroll the internet looking for different jobs. We secretly envy all the 9 to 5’ers in our churches. We wallow. We call into question our worth. We numb ourselves to the needs around us. We put our heads down…and hope it will all just go away. And if one more person comes for some kind of need…we will just…
Oh wait…Hi. Fancy meeting a girl like you in a place like this. Are you serious Father? Can’t you see I’m taking a break here. Can you cut me some slack? You send her…right now?
But what if amidst all the exhausting stuff of life, the fears, the failures, the disputes, the conflicts, the misunderstandings…that God sends someone with genuine need to reawaken you to your purpose and rekindle the fires of mission in your life. What if she’s not a problem. What if she’s the Father’s provision?
What if we needed that someone to reignite our belief in the transformative, redemptive power of God? What if a renewed focus on life change restores the life of the leader? And what if it happens in the place you didn’t want to be amidst the remnants of what could have been…AND…might still be!
Jesus, though tired, responds to the call! Once again!
And you never know. We know her as the woman at the well. Orthodox tradition names her St. Photini, one whose faith will inspire others amidst their martyrdom for the sake of the gospel.
Exhaustion is no joke! Rest yes!! But don’t wallow. Instead allow God to reawaken, rekindle, and reignite your mission and purpose. Lift up your head. She/he might be coming through your valley. And, you just never know what that change might mean!
Keep on, keeping on Pastor! You are loved. You are doing great! Cling to Jesus, the gospel, His purpose as Your mission, lock arms…and let’s finish this race together!