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He HAD to go through Samaria (John 4:4). Well, geographically he didn’t HAVE to go through Samaria. In fact, the more politically correct route for any self-respecting Jew would be to go on the east side of the Jordan River. It was a longer route but avoided Samaria all together. If you did choose to go through Samaria you certainly wouldn’t stop for lunch, or talk to a woman.

But Jesus did.

He had to go through Samaria because someone was ready to hear his message. That someone was a woman that had gone through five divorces. Five. One is devastating enough. Two raises eyebrows. Five? There are words for women like this but none of them are appropriate for this space.

Take a moment to put yourself in the woman’s place. Hopefully you will have a hard time with this, but imagine how rejected you would feel. Remember the first time you broke up? The first time you were dumped for better pasture? Multiply by five! And now, the guy she was ‘with’ didn’t even respect her enough to marry her.

That’s why she went to the well during the hottest part of the day. She no doubt suffered in silence and this was her coping mechanism.

But Jesus went out of his way to meet her in her comfort zone, on her terms to share the one thing she needed above all else…acceptance and true life.

He does the same today. You don’t need to suffer in silence. He wants to hear from you. He wants us to see those who may be suffering and offer the fresh water of his grace. Silent sufferers never escape the notice of Jesus.


In our humanity we often tend to think God only uses those who have their act together. We look for pastors and church leaders that have squeaky clean records, are financially stable and have 15 children, all of whom are on the ‘A Honor Roll’ and in the ‘Who’s Who of American Scholars’.

Especially in our culture that is harder and harder to find, or maybe it’s always been harder to find now that I think about it. Looking back in Biblical history, few, if any of the ‘great men of God’ were all that great. The list is made up of murderers, adulterers, cheaters, and those who struggled with mental health issues (to name a few).

We are never expected to ‘clean up our act’ so God can use us. Peter demonstrated amazing faith when he stepped out of a boat during a storm. David chose to go into battle without any armor. Issac followed his dad to the mountain for sacrifice when they had no animal and then allowed his dad to tie him up! The Apostle Paul did some of his best writing strapped to a couple of Roman Guards!

The point is, God seems to use do his best work in people who are at their worst and bless them in the process. With the power of God’s Holy Spirit within us we can plant seeds of love, mercy, forgiveness and grace in those around us. How we react to life’s struggles are an amazing testimony to the God we serve.

When He puts you in a place of struggle keep one hand in his and reach out to someone else that needs to see the way through the darkness and tears. You’ll both be better off!


“I can’t get no satisfaction.”

The song was released in 1965 but the feeling has been around for as long as mankind. It was a lack of satisfaction that gave the Devil the tools needed to tempt Eve. It was the lack of satisfaction that caused the first murder. It was the lack of satisfaction that characterized the lifestyle of the woman at the well. She’d gone through five husbands and didn’t even bother marrying the current guy.

Her visit to the well that day brought the satisfaction she’d longed for her entire life. Water. Not just any water, living water. Not a cup full, but rivers of it flooding forth like an eternal spring.

There is no end to the satisfaction we get through Jesus. There is no fulfillment outside of him. Those who rely on their own strength, their own religion, their own efforts question God’s existence because they are looking for the wrong thing in the wrong place. Their cravings are never satisfied. Their soul constantly cries for more.

When money and ego are the most important thing in your life you will never be satisfied. With Jesus in first place, you will never be in need.


“Don’t forget to do good…”

I’ve often heard people misquote this verse and others with a similar message to justify their social activism and political agendas even though their ‘actions’ are completely contradictory to the context and whole of the Bible message.

‘Good’ can not be defined in human terms because ‘good’ in human terms is relative to the situation at hand and the mindset of the person or group defining it. Is the good you are doing helping the good of the majority of people who think like you do?

On the other hand, ‘good’ defined by God’s standards is impossible to attain without the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit. The guidance of the Holy Spirit will never contradict God’s word. It is what empowered Jesus during the wilderness temptations to stay true to his mission and resist satanic influences. Each of the things Satan tempted Christ to do were not wrong in and of themselves but the motive behind them was!

When we consider our ‘good’ actions measure them according to the standards God instituted. Then thank him profusely for grace because even at your best you can’t do everything perfect. Thank him for his inner peace too because if you stand with God, you will ultimately stand against culture and society.

You’ll fair better in the long run when you stand with the one who holds your eternity in his hand that you will standing with those whose future is limited to this world. Your good deeds should be done according to God’s standards, not the whims and fickle ways of culture.


One of my favorite movies is Apollo 13. An unseen hero in the movie is Ken Mattingly. Mattingly was pulled from the mission at the last minute as a precautionary measure due to exposure to the German measles. While he didn’t get to go into space, Mattingly played a huge part in the mission by helping NASA figure out a power sequence that helped save his fellow astronauts. His efforts behind the scenes were instrumental in saving lives.

There are times in each of our lives when our efforts may go unnoticed by the majority of people. That doesn’t make them any less important. Our efforts won’t all have the same magnitude of Mattingly’s heroics, but doesn’t make them less important.

The other night I stopped for gas at a local convenience store. A young man from a car next to mine approached me. It was a frigid night here in NW Wisconsin. It was late. He asked me if I’d give him a jump if he paid me. I smiled and said “No, but I’d do it for free.” He was startled but grateful. Later, after his care was running, he offered again. I smiled at him and said, “You know, Jesus loved me for free. I figure I can show some love for free too.”

My act wasn’t heroic to the world, but it was to him. I didn’t make the news that night, but my Heavenly Father saw it. Too often we may feel like our actions go unnoticed by people, and they may. But never let that stop you from doing the good thing, the loving thing. Never ever give up showing Jesus’ love! Others may not notice, but Jesus will.

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