By Cathy Tolbert,
Good morning! Has a passage of Scripture ever spoken to you, a verse, maybe, but what about just one word? One word for me got me searching for other examples in Scripture, the word "had".
I get something out of each of the first three, the Synoptic Gospels, but in particular, the later written book of John reaches me as a Gentile, because it was written to Gentiles primarily. John 4:4. The rest of the story describes why. (vs 4- 43).
Had. Have you ever been "had", that is deceived, duped, fooled by satan, by a human, by an event? I have, many times, though I thought each time that I was too smart to be fooled, which was its own deception. The defeated one has many tools to accomplish this "had" in our lives.
But, this is a different "had". This conveys purpose, urgency, a time sensitive goal, a no-choice scenario, but a win-win for everyone. I have often wondered why Jesus' earthly ministry was not longer than three years. He was only scheduled to live as a human for 33 years. His time, then, was short and to the point. Just long enough to leave us thirsting for more, just like the woman at the well. Wishing we had more time, more questions to ask, more to receive from HIM.
A moment in time ... "You make time for what is important". Oh no, mom---not lecture 42 again!!" I can just hear my kids railing on me for that. Yet, Jesus had to prioritize his earthly appointments to obey fully everything HIS FATHER needed for HIM to do during this limited, but full earthly ministry. Had to. "It was necessary" some translations reveal. Most say, "had".
The King James, in its antiquated terms, says, "must needs go". Still a requirement for Jesus' day on HIS busy schedule. Actually, a straight shot from where HE was on the way to where HE was headed, which the story shows was Galilee. HE did not take the roundabout detour as did any other Jew, which would have added more miles to those HE already walked.
Had to. She had to have water and had no other person to get it for her and help with this heavy water jug. Had to. She went to the well by herself, no friends, no others at a time when it would be the most undesirable heat of the day, most likely rejected by her peers for all the divorces or other labels she had been through. Twelve noon, the sixth hour by Jewish reckoning. Had. She had a past, though she was not allowed in those times and laws to divorce those men, just existed on the whim of anyone to use and misuse marriage and throw her aside. She needed a better hope, purpose and future. She had had enough of an unfulfilled life, of being ignored, rejected, dismissed. She had questions, but no answers, and a boldness to ask and learn, if someone would just listen, would value her ... enough, would set aside the judgements and just show GOD's love.
HE had to bring her that knowledge of HIM as Messiah and ultimately, for her village. Had to. Jesus had to have a drink of water, as it was a long, dusty trip to the well from HIS last stop. HE had to talk to her in private, without interruption from HIS disciples or the Samaritans. No accident, then, in GOD's timing and ways that all this came together as it did. Physical needs met, spiritual needs met, soul needs met, emotional needs. All had to be addressed. And HE had to make that happen ... And HE had to bring GOD's love and message to the Gentiles, because the Jews certainly weren't going to, not at this time, and especially not to a hated group of half-pagan, half-Jewish (or less than half) outcasts that "blighted" the land with their presence and idolatrous worship. HE had to send an empowered divorced woman as a missionary to her own people to get this revolutionary agape love rolling, as the men would have refused. They had to know about the rest of Scripture and HIS fulfillment of it, as they only had the first five books. They had to be shown grace, mercy and blessings as a people that could be as acceptable to HIM as were the chosen ones of Israel who rejected all about HIM.
Who else had the courage to go?
For GOD so loved the world ... the whole world ... and aren't you glad that HE did?