Jesus Keeps His Appointments
My heart stopped as I looked at my calendar. I’d missed my appointment with my child’s school principal. Again. Shrouded in shame, I reached for my phone and imagined the principal reaching for his, except he wasn’t calling me.
“Department of Social Services. May I help you?”
“Yes, this is the principal of Pineview Elementary. I’d like to report an unfit mom.”
Ages ago, Jesus also had an appointment to keep. We know because John recorded it.
“And He had to pass through Samaria” (John 4:4).
Jesus had to pass through Samaria?
Surely he didn’t have to. In fact, no good Jew in those days traveled through Samaria. They despised the Samaritans and wore a well-trodden path around their land to avoid them. If Jesus didn’t have to go through Samaria because of roads, then why did he? I looked for the answer in what he did when he got there.
Jesus rested by Jacob’s well and waited. He had an appointment no one else knew about except his Father. She showed up right on time. Jesus, a Jew, had an appointment with a woman. An unmarried Samaritan woman who was shacking up with a man – the sixth man she’d lived with. She wouldn’t have expected anyone to be at the well at that time of day, much less a Jew. But Jesus had known it all. In fact, he told her everything she’d done. He spared us the details, but no doubt they were of questionable nature. What was Jesus thinking?
No proper Jew would’ve kept that appointment. But Jesus did. He had words of hope and encouragement, but most of all, he had the words of life. Before the end of his appointment, he’d changed more than this Samaritan woman of ill repute. His words, seasoned with truth, grace, and mercy, impacted her entire town.
More than 2,000 years later, in 1982, Jesus had another appointment. If John had recorded it, he may have written, “And he had to travel on I-75.”
Jesus met another woman and told her everything she’d ever done. Like the woman at the well, he didn’t drive her away in her shame. Instead, his words of life drew her to him. Drew me. Back to Jesus.
Somewhere along the road of life, I’d taken a wrong turn and gotten lost, far from God. But Jesus had made an appointment with me, set for that moment in my little Honda on I-75. And he didn’t miss it.
Perhaps you have a loved one who doesn’t know Jesus or has gotten lost, far from him. You can trust that Jesus knows. Pray and rest. He’ll travel the highways and byways for the ones he died to save. Whether they’re sitting in a classroom, penthouse office, or prison cell, Jesus sees. Jesus cares. And Jesus keeps his appointments.
Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14 NASB
Leaving the Well, Leading the Way
By: Missy Wilson, crosswalk.com
“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” (John 4:39)
The story of the Samaritan woman at the well has to be one of my all time favorites. There is so very much that we can learn from this passage of scripture. One of the most overlooked lessons we can learn from this woman is the impact she had on her own community. She left the well that day a new woman. She had sipped from the wellspring . . . living water. She had met the Christ.
I can almost imagine how refreshed her face must have appeared to all of the people. If you study this scripture, the people immediately responded to what she said by going out of the town and making their way toward Jesus (verse 30). The Woman at the Well made her neighbors, her community a priority and led them to Jesus.
Many times we hurry through our lives missing the great opportunity to minister to our own neighbors in our own communities. It is so sad that our communities of long ago are disappearing. Neighbors rarely even know each other, much less share in each others lives. Webster’s dictionary defines share as “to partake of, use, experience, or enjoy with others.” Sharing our lives with others is a great way to minister. The word “minister” seems so stuffy and preachy (if that is even a word) sometimes. The truth is that ministry begins with sharing our lives with others.
My family and I recently moved to a new town with all new faces. We did not know anyone except our real estate agent! The first few months were very tough sometimes, and often very lonely. God placed some “ministers” in my path. He sent people who opened up their hearts, their lives, and their community to me and my little family. These new friends did not have to preach to me or even discuss church, they ministered to me by sharing. They shared tips on doctors, restaurants, garbage pick up days, community events, lawn service, and school information. These people, this community, appeared refreshed to me . . . just like the Woman at the Well. These people have impacted me, their neighbor. I have no doubt that these same people have shared the love of God through their simple actions many, many times. They have all chosen to make their neighbors, their community a priority. I praise God for them!
Do you know your neighbors? Just start by saying “hi!” The Woman at the Well was so touched by Christ that she impacted an entire town. You can too. You don’t have to say a word. They will see it in your face and experience it as you decide to share a little of your life with them. Reach out today in some little way to the community around you and watch as that “Living Water” begins to flow all around you!
The Woman at the Well
CBN.com “I began to compromise myself again for the love of money because that was the need in my life at that point,” says Staci Nicholson.
It was a need that would cause Staci Nicholson to lose her dignity and almost lose her life. It stemmed from her childhood. While her parents pursued the American dream, Staci was left searching for the love and attention she craved.
“My dad started becoming very successful as a CEO of Sears Saving Bank, and mom worked in commercial real estate,” she says. “We had a lot of nice things, but as a little girl, I remember being very empty.”
By the age of 15, Staci got the attention she craved by having sex. A promiscuous lifestyle opened the door to drugs, alcohol, and an abortion. Then one day she found a profession that gave her the money she desired but stripped away her dignity and sense of self worth.
“It was just this is an exotic dancer escort service operation, so that was the belief that I had,” she explains. “But then as I continued on and I would go on these evenings, I began to learn that these men would offer you money for specific sex acts. I began to learn that you could make a lot of money for what I had already compromised in my life anyway. I had no more boundaries.”
Staci actually prostituted herself.
Says Staci, “I think it was compromise after compromise. I began to find out that that is what the women did and that it was OK for me to do that. Just be very careful when you do that.”
Staci thought she was finally in control of her life.
“It felt like a powerful position to have men at the tip of my fingers, that I could control them, I could tell them what I was going to do,” she says. “There was a false sense of power in that for me in another way that I was filling the void.”
One night Staci went out on a call for a bachelor party. During her exotic dance routine, there was a violent interruption.
Staci recalls, “The doors broke down and the police officers came in, and we realized that we were on an undercover operation, a sting operation for prostitution. That is when I broke down. I just thought, How? How did I get to this place? How did I get to this place?”
Staci was arrested, charged with prostitution, and sent to jail.
“As I was sitting in that jail cell, I cried out to God,” she remembers. “I said, ‘Lord, save me. God, if Youre real, would You show me who You are? Would You show me who You are? I want to know who You are because theres nobody else to help, and if Youre real, just let me see who You are.”
God did! Amazingly, the charge of prostitution was dropped to trespassing.
“At that point, you can imagine my heart leaped with joy thinking, Oh, thank You.Even then I was thanking God. Thank you, God.”
Staci was free to start her life over. God had answered her prayers. But she didnt have any understanding of who God really was or what He wanted for her life.
“It wasnt very real to me, and I had no idea of who God was, really,” she explains. “I just thought it was pretty much just something that you did, like a story or a myth.”
But one day Staci met God in a very real way. It happened as she watched people going into a church.
“There was something so strong, it was like a voice saying, ‘Come, just as you are. Come.’ I believe it was at that point where the Holy Spirit was drawing me Himself. It was Jesus Himself that was coming to rescue me. He was on His way,” she says.
The next Sunday Staci went to that same church.
“The next thing that I begin to hear coming from the pastors mouth is that Jesus had come for the irreligious, the unholy, the murderers, the liars, the perverts, the prostitutes, that God had come for the outcasts of society, for the broken one. When he said ‘prostitute,’ I thought, Does this man know who I am? Its as if he was speaking just to me. And he said, ‘In this moment, if you would like to receive Jesus Christ into your heart, I want to invite you. You can stand up. You can sit in your seat. Whether you whisper it under your breath, God hears your heart. He knows where you are.’ He gave the invitation, and I didnt choose to sit in my seat. I didnt choose to just say it quietly. I chose to jump up as high as I could and I said, ‘I believe!’ In fact, I remember people looking at me like Whoa! What is this woman doing?”
That day Staci gave her life to Jesus Christ. She trusted God to love her in spite of her past and to give her a brand new future.
“When I said yes to Jesus, I literally felt the chains drop off of my body,” she says. “I felt this release, this freedom come over me. I felt much like the woman at the well, where the woman at the well goes to tell her friends, ‘Hey, theres this man, and he just exposed me. He knows everything that Ive done. Can you believe this? Im not shamed.’ That was me. God knows everything Ive done and He loves me. And so at that moment, I was filled with freedom and joy and life and love. It was as if love came and just touched my heart, and I knew that was what I was looking for all my life.”
Staci walked away from the sin in her life and began to follow God. For a while she stayed out of relationships with men.
“I continued to walk in obedience. It was my pleasure to keep my body clean. I never wanted to share my body again,” she says.
Eventually, Staci met a wonderful man who accepts her past and shares a love for God. They married and now have a beautiful two-and-a-half- year-old son and another one on the way. Today Staci is a teacher whose mission is to teach youth the truth about sex.
“I truly have a heart and I believe a passion that God has stirred up in me to go to prepare the way for the youth to say to them, ‘Dont buy into the lie,’ says Staci. “God created us as a pure vessel to be holy and pleasing for Him, not to use it in a way of immorality. God says, ‘I know the plans that I have for you, plans to give you a future and a hope, plans to prosper you. When you seek Me, you will find Me. ‘”