GOING NORTH: FACETIME WITH GOD
Series One: HAVE YOU EVER FELT LIKE AN OUTCAST?
Part One: JESUS KNOWS ABOUT REJECTION-HE’S BEEN THERE
The Samaritan Woman at the Well: John 4:1-32
DO YOU KNOW THE PAIN OF REJECTION?
Have you ever felt like you don’t belong?
Years ago, as a young believer, I was eager to serve in our church, and jumped in feet first to teach Sunday school. But I could be painfully honest, and often I felt like my enthusiasm seemed overbearing to others. I must be doing something wrong, I thought. Dial yourself down a little, Cindy. I felt pinched, like my size 10 foot was squeezed into a size 9 sneaker. I didn’t quite fit. (Yes, I really wear a size 10 shoe.)
Why did ministry feel painful? Now that I was a Christian I thought life would get easier. Even though I had experienced more dramatic rejections in my life the pain of rejection while serving Jesus ran deep. Maybe I should be serving somewhere else, I reasoned.
After attending a city-wide prayer meeting, I asked the leader for advice. “How do I know what God wants me to do?” She said, “Seek His face.” Although I didn’t really understand how to do that, I sensed there was a deep truth there that needed to be grasped.
Do you feel like you don’t quite fit? Maybe everything seems okay, but little rejections pinch your heart and make walking forward feel painful.
It wasn’t until much later that I realized I craved the approval of my fellow believers. More than that, I wanted my pastor to think highly of me. If I performed well I could please him, but he wasn’t someone who offered encouragement. I also wanted to follow all the “Christian” rules so I could please God too. Something needed to change, but what?
Eventually I understood that my focus was misplaced. I needed to listen more and do less. Waiting in God’s presence and learning His ways needed to be more important than working hard to please Him.
Do you love God and try to live a righteous life, but something is missing? Is your relationship with Jesus based more on following rules than on sitting at His feet and learning to hear His voice?
Now I try to hear His voice everywhere—not only in the written Word, but in creation and all of life’s events. I’ve found that Jesus’ voice is not condemning, judgmental, or condescending. Most importantly, I’m learning to experience His deep love for me.
Has someone deeply disappointed you? Does the pain of your rejection carry over into your relationship with Jesus? Jesus won’t ignore you or toss you aside. Instead, He invites you to sit at his feet. He desires your friendship.
YOU CAN BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND THE DEPTH OF HIS LOVE FOR YOU
But I know Jesus loves me, you may say.
Yep, you may have heard that all your life. But for most of us, it’s a concept we understand in our heads, but have yet to feel it in our hearts.
Imagine Jesus putting His arm around you. Rest your head on His shoulder. Let His smile reach into your heart. No matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, He loves you.
Experiencing His love soothes the pain of rejection.
THE SAMARITAN WOMAN AT THE WELL
Let’s look at someone who experienced Jesus’ deep love for her.
The book of John describes the Samaritan woman as an outcast who probably came to draw water by herself because the other women shunned her. Married five times and living with a man now, she had spent her life “looking for love in all the wrong places.” She had experienced rejection from men “big time.”
If you’ve been rejected and labeled as “damaged goods,” you understand.
Jesus understood her pain and He understands yours.
JESUS KNOWS ABOUT REJECTION-HE’S BEEN THERE
But Jesus never sinned, you may say. True. But He did feel the pain of being labeled, judged, and rebuffed for who He was.
Maybe people snickered at Mary for conceiving Jesus before she was married. Maybe Joseph was criticized for not putting her away. Was Jesus labeled a child of questionable heritage? Did people judge Him to be “damaged goods?”
HIS ENCOUNTER WITH THE SAMARITAN WOMAN
Now Jesus and His disciples were cutting through Samaria on their way to Galilee. As they traveled, perhaps the disciples worried about their own reputations as they walked through “the bad part of town.” Samaritans were descended from Jews left in Israel during the Babylonian captivity who had intermarried with gentiles. They came from the wrong “denomination” full of pagan influences. No respectable Jew would take this shorter route to Galilee.
How about you? Have you been shunned because of your past, your financial situation, your race, or your denomination? Maybe you’ve been denied opportunities because you’re a woman. Has someone tagged you with a label that you can’t shake off?
YOU’RE JUST THE KIND OF PERSON JESUS IS LOOKING FOR
After leaving Jesus at Jacob’s well, the disciples went into a village to buy lunch. Imagine their surprise when they returned to find their Master conducting a lively conversation with a Samaritan woman.
Jewish culture prohibited rabbis from talking to women in public, let alone to a Samaritan woman of questionable character. What would people think?
However, Jesus was on an assignment from the Father. The One who knew the pain of rejection had been ministering to one who had been rejected.
Did He stand in a pulpit and point at her many transgressions? No.
Neither does He point a condemning finger at you. He wants to start a conversation. He’d like to get to know you.
He was tired and thirsty. He asked the Samaritan woman for a drink of water.
She was shocked that He would even speak to her. No one else did.
Little did she know that Jesus’ request was a setup to draw her into a divine friendship that far exceeded any relationship she had ever experienced.
He offered her Living Water. She need never be thirsty for love again.
Not until He had offered her what she thirsted for did He reveal that He knew about her past.
But Jesus was getting too close for comfort, so she changed the subject.
“You Jews worship on this mountain but we worship on that mountain. Who’s right?” (John 4:20 my paraphrase)
Jesus had the perfect response. “God doesn’t care where you worship. He just wants worship that comes from your heart.” (John 4:21 my paraphrase)
Jesus understood that by following religious rules one could avoid friendship with God. Relationships can be scary. There is always the risk of rejection.
Are you afraid to get closer to God? Do you expect to be rejected? Remember, Jesus knows about rejection. He’s been there. He already knows your past and He loves you where you are.
Jesus isn’t dwelling on your sin. Instead, He offers you friendship. He isn’t looking for perfect people. Rather, He’s looking for hungry hearts. Jesus wants you to see that you have a destiny with Him. And it’s good.
It was at this moment that the disciples returned, speechless, as they observed Jesus speaking to a Samaritan woman. But Jesus’ timing was perfect. He had carved out one-on-one time with an unwanted woman who had never experienced a loving relationship.
JESUS WANTS TO SPEND ONE-ON-ONE TIME WITH YOU
All at once, the woman dropped her water jar and ran off to her village and told everyone, “Come and meet a man at the well who told me everything I’ve ever done! He could be the Anointed One we’ve been waiting for.” ([John 4:28 TPT)
Facetime with Jesus changed her. Now she realized He wanted to spend time with her even though He knew her past. She had to tell everyone she knew. You could say she was one of the first evangelists.
FACETIME WITH JESUS WILL CHANGE YOU TOO
Jesus doesn’t see you as “damaged goods.” You’re not the wrong size that needs to be returned. Rather, He hand-picks a destiny for you that is just the right fit. He shows you where you belong.
Let’s pray: Thank you Jesus that you love me the way I am. Draw me into a deeper relationship with You and help me find the destiny You designed just for me.