“They drew a circle that shut me out:
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout;
But love and He had a mind to win;
He drew a circle and took me in.”
Thus, is the story of Sychar and the woman Jesus encounters there.
In Proverbs 23:26 Solomon says, “My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.” That’s what we all long to have – the heart of another. But how is it gained? How does someone give his/her heart to you? Jack Miller writes, “You reach the conscience of another person by first being changed yourself, and out of that change, in love, reaching the other person.”
Most of the time when we desire to influence someone else we look to methodology; some way to change them without changing ourselves. And the reason is that we are so possessed with our own wants and needs that we are blind to theirs. Solomon identifies what we really want in any primary relationship; we want their heart. It’s not wrong to want the heart of another, actually it’s the height of maturity. But the way we go about trying to get it often reveals the depth of our own immaturity and our lack of understanding of Jesus.
If we are really going to reach the conscience of another, we have to deal with the question of whether we have first given our hearts to God. It’s only as our hearts are open to Him, infatuated with Him, that we are able to have them truly open to others. And it’s only there that true change happens.
This Sunday we will see an ultimate example of that in Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well. In so many ways Jesus and this woman are polar opposites. But, in one way they mirror each other. It’s this striking similarity that is rarely discussed. But it’s only in examining this feature that the heart of the encounter is seen; and the heart is transformation.
In preparation for this Sunday’s message, “What Love Does”, you may wish to consider the following:
- Read John 4:1-26 several times.
- Check the lyrics to “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” and the You Tube interview of Stuart Townend’s description of writing it.
- How does the story of Jesus’ encounter with the woman of Sychar reveal His love for His Father?
- How often is Jesus described as being “weary” in the gospels?
- What is His principle need as He sits down at the well?
- What laws does He violate in engaging her?
- Why does He say to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here…”?
- What is the woman’s deepest need?
- How does Jesus satisfy it in verse 26?
- How does He gain her heart? How does He gain yours?