Don’t Miss Your Miracle This Christmas
Rikah Thomas 12/21/20
What do the Samaritan woman, Jesus’ disciples, and the Jews at the pool of Bethesda have in common?
While reading John 4 and 5, something stood out to me through the interactions each person had with Jesus. I was aware, once again, of the earthly and the divine colliding, and the possibility of missing His love and presence in everyday life.
First story: The Samaritan woman met Jesus at the well:
“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) “You are a Jew,” said the woman. “How can You ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God and who is asking you for a drink, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” “Sir,” the woman replied, “You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where then will You get this living water? ……. Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a fount of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:7-14
Observation: The Samaritan woman was being invited by Jesus to Himself. It didn’t matter that she was a woman, divorced, not a Jew, or that it wasn’t culturally acceptable to be talking to a Samaritan. Yet, in that moment, she missed Him because she was focused on the fact that he didn’t have anything to draw water with.
He kept bringing her to Himself. She saw the well. It was deep. He didn’t have anything to draw with. Where would He get this living water?
Make it personal: What am I focused on this Christmas as Jesus sits with me at the well of my life? Amidst stress and uncertainty? COVID-19? Fear? Financial struggles? Loss? As He rests with me amidst worldly chaos, do I see Jesus, or do I see lack and how things appear to be? Do I hear the hope He is offering to me?
The second story: Enter the disciples:
“Just then His disciples returned and were surprised that He was speaking with a woman. But no one asked Him, “What do You want from her?” or “Why are You talking with her?” (Great twist when you keep reading) Meanwhile the disciples urged Him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But He told them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” So, the disciples asked one another, “Could someone have brought Him food?” Jesus explained, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are still four months until the harvest’? I tell you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are ripe for harvest. John 4:27-34
Observation: The disciples walked close with Jesus. Unlike the Samaritan woman, they were living in His presence and heard His heart about heavenly truths. They were in His inner circle. They knew Him (or at least were trying to know Him). And they believed, even when often confused.
Nonetheless, what they saw was His need to eat. They saw Him talking to the woman and questioned it. Jesus responded to their earthly inquiry with spiritual treasures, while they wondered if someone already fed Him. They missed it. God was there, inviting them to greater things.
Make it personal: What about us? If we have been with Jesus and believe we know Him, read the Bible, pray, and go to church, do we still have certain beliefs and cultural standards that don’t fit with what Jesus is inviting us to? Do we know Jesus as He is, or are we missing Him—lost in culture, challenges, and our own confused opinions? Are we concerned with the cares of this life and missing the invitation to look up and see God, and rest in His perfect will for us?
The third story: Jews in Jerusalem and a healed man:
“Sometime later there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool with five covered colonnades, which in Hebrew is called Bethesda. On these walkways lay a great number of the sick, the blind, the lame, and the paralyzed. One man there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and realized that he had spent a long time in this condition, He asked him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am on my way, someone else goes in before me.” Then Jesus told him, “Get up, pick up your mat, and walk.”
Immediately the man was made well, and he picked up his mat and began to walk. Now this happened on the Sabbath day, so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “This is the Sabbath! It is unlawful for you to carry your mat.” But he answered, “The man who made me well told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’” “Who is this man who told you to pick it up and walk?” they asked. But the man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away while the crowd was there. John 5:1-15
Observation: A man is healed after thirty-eight years of being an invalid. The Jews, God’s chosen people who prided themselves in knowing God and the law were the very ones who missed Jesus in their midst. They were the religious ones determined to uphold the law. Determined to judge those appearing to oppose it. Religious. Zealous. Yet they missed the miracle of an invalid walking after thirty-eight years. Touched by Jesus. Healed. They missed love and grace.
Make it personal: What about us? Maybe God is moving toward those we love—moving in their lives, but we are missing it because we are stuck on the law. We think we know God’s plan for others, and we forget to reflect His heart of love and grace. We forget to bless others with compassion and mercy. We forget to introduce other’s to God.
God, who is Love.
Love beyond culture. Beyond sin. Beyond limited understanding. Beyond what our eyes see. Beyond gender. Beyond perceptions and judgments. Beyond religion. Beyond brokenness and confusion. Beyond best intentions and failures. Beyond religion. Beyond tragedy and what cannot be controlled. Beyond differences. Beyond.
Offering hope. Healing. Salvation. Living water. Eternal life. Relationship with God.
Three stories, each interaction with Jesus an invitation to Himself. His love. His ways. His truth.
This Christmas I am reminded to not miss Jesus in the midst. I don’t want to presume that I know how God will reveal Himself, then miss His presence moving. I don’t want to miss the miracles He is accomplishing in another’s life because I think it should be done a different way. I don’t want to believe that He cannot show up to all people everywhere in His tender mercies. I don’t want to suppose that He wouldn’t lovingly invite them into relationship with Himself as they receive His living water by faith. A tiny step of faith. I don’t want to miss Jesus moving this Christmas amid struggles, challenges, personal loss, pain, preconceived ideas, or false beliefs, or even the good circumstances we find ourselves in as the world navigates change. I don’t want to miss the miracles that are possible this Christmas and New Year. Because He is here, speaking, loving, caring, and inviting us to Himself.
I pray for us ears to hear and eyes to see for God is with us, and He is Love, Mercy, Grace, and Peace.
Merry Christmas Friends! Love and Hugs, Rikah Thomas
Books by Rikah Thomas available at Amazon.com
Be at War: Battle for Love
Loving & Hating This Thing Called Church