Bible Reading: John 4:1-38
Yesterday we saw how Jesus defied religious, social, racial and cultural barriers to reach out to a woman of Samaria, but how did He actually connect with this woman?
Because Jesus loves people He draws alongside them, making Himself vulnerable and them comfortable. Here is an important principle. We must allow ourselves to be vulnerable, but also let the people we reach out to feel comfortable with us. In some cases making people feel comfortable may be difficult and require patience. Yesterday I heard that because of the terrible dictatorship and conditions in North Korea it might take up to two years for a North Korean to feel comfortable enough to trust another person!
How did Jesus make Himself vulnerable and the Samaritan woman feel comfortable? Jesus was tired, thirsty and probably hungry after the long journey, and He made the woman feel needed by asking her to help meet His need – “Give Me a drink” [John 4:7]. He asked what He knew she could give Him. This is so different to an attitude that just says, “You’ve got a need and I’ve got the answer!” If we are honest we all have needs. Corrie ten Boom once said, “Never say that you have no needs, because if you do, then God cannot meet your need.”
Making ourselves vulnerable will always make it easier for other people to feel comfortable with us. It may be a simple need like a drink as in the case of Jesus, or it may be confessing personal failure, disappointment or something that you struggle with. I have noticed that honest testimonies of struggles or failure and of how God brought you through are often more powerful than the testimonies of great success and personal achievement.
To love always makes a person vulnerable. C.S. Lewis penned these remarkable words: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal! Wrap it carefully around with little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it safe in the casket of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable…the only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers of love is hell.”
Why do you think that making ourselves vulnerable makes people more comfortable to trust and listen to us?
What are the personal needs that you are aware of in your own life? Why not open up to someone in the next week and share this with someone that you trust, and then take the opportunity to pray together?
Why do you think that Christian leaders in particular might find it difficult to be open and share their personal needs and struggles?