My evenings at Amazon vary as I try to fix any problems before product gets shipped out to customers. Typically, free time is rare as I am usually exploring and examining some sort of defect. However, the other night I was selected to be part of a survey, asked a series of questions by a human resource staff member from Seattle. Due to an initial technical glitch, I was able to talk to a co-worker. This five minute conversation opened my mind to the importance of listening.
Then a woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink”— 8 For His disciples had gone off into the city to buy food— 9 The Samaritan woman asked Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (For Jews have nothing to do with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew [about] God’s gift [of eternal life], and who it is who says, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him [instead], and He would have given you living water (eternal life),” John 4:7-10.
My co-worker was in her first week in a new position. When my initial phone calls failed to go through, she had to email her manager to figure out what to do. As we both waited, I discovered that this young woman had lyme disease for ten years before receiving an accurate diagnosis. Since she never had what is called a bullseye, a tell tale sign of lyme disease, doctors could not figure out what was wrong with her for a decade. I shared of my own struggles twenty years ago from this same disease. As I talked, I sensed the Holy Spirit whispering, “this is what happens when you take the time to listen.”
The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not get thirsty nor [have to continually] come all the way here to draw.” 16 At this, Jesus said, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 17 The woman answered, “I do not have a husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I do not have a husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the man you are now living with is not your husband. You have said this truthfully,” John 4:15-18.
When I read the Bible, it is clear that Jesus was a masterful communicator, never wasting an opportunity to interact with a stranger. Despite the political tension between Jews and Samaritans, Jesus goes out of his way to talk to a woman who has a history of bouncing from one relationship to the next. After five failed marriages, this woman was trying to love without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. During an intense back and forth, Jesus plants a spiritual seed within this woman for faith to grow. When you take the time to listen to another person, God can use you to offer a message of encouragement, healing and hope.
by Jay Mankus