And He had to pass through Samaria, (4:4).
John 4 is an especially meaningful chapter to me. It is the first sermon I remember, although I had spent many a Sunday in church (as well as weekdays as a private school attendee); and it was some five months before I came to know Christ as my Savior.
This Samaritan woman, so immoral, so discarded, yet so important to Jesus that He had to pass through Samaria. Passing through Samaria was in fact the expedient route to get from Judea to Galilee, but in reality the Jews would do anything to avoid Samaria. The Jews, who considered Samaritans to be ceremonially unclean, went to great lengths to avoid a defiled Samaritan.
But not so with Jesus… He had to pass through Samaria.
The Gospels are filled with accounts of people seeking Jesus out, coming to Him for healing and provision. But here, it is Jesus Who seeks out one woman, one immoral woman, one low in status and virtue, one so despicably desperate. One who had most assuredly been shunned by her community, to the point she came, alone, in the hottest part of the day to draw her water. One so disregarded, and yet, she so mattered to Jesus. It is Inexplicable.
Jesus sought out and spoke with a Samaritan woman, so against tradition and so completely unworthy of His holy attention. Why? It is Inexplicable.
I honestly don’t know why she mattered so to Him. But she did. And I honestly don’t know why I mattered, why He sought me out and spoke with me in January 1984, but I have never recovered. I remain undone by His grace and mercy.
Today, I pray His grace and mercy knocks us off our feet as we consider His Inexplicable Itinerary and wonder why.
Consider His Inexplicable Itinerary
Itinerary: “a detailed plan for a journey, especially a list of places to visit; plan of travel; a line of travel; route; an account of a journey; record of travel; a book describing a route or routes of travel with information helpful to travelers; guidebook for travelers.”
- His Inexplicable Itinerary… He came down from Heaven to raise us up to eternal life.
- “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day,” (John 6:38-40).
- His Inexplicable Itinerary… He passed through the heavens, came to earth in human flesh to become our empathetic High Priest, and sinlessly endured our every temptation.
- Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin, (Hebrews 4:14-15).
- His Inexplicable Itinerary… He went out to the place of the cross to bring us in to the place of salvation.
- They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. 18 There they crucified Him, (John 19:17-18).
- His Inexplicable Itinerary… He left the grave and rose from the dead to raise us from death to new life.
- He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification, (Romans 4:25).
- His Inexplicable Itinerary… He went ahead to prepare a place in His Father’s house for us.
- “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you,” (John 14:1-2).
- His Inexplicable Itinerary… He is coming again to receive us to Himself.
- “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 31 And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other,” (Matthew 24:30-31).
- “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also,” (John 14:3).
How do we respond to His Inexplicable Itinerary?
We are so very privileged to see the detailed plan of His journey in His Word, our guidebook and itinerary for our own journey through this life.
What He left… for us. Where He went… for us. What He did and continues to do… for us. It is Inexplicable. We cannot explain why; but oh may we believe, receive and drink of His gift of eternal life to become His true worshipers in spirit and in truth.
Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water… 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life… 23 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth,” (4:10, 14, 23-24).
It is only His sacrifice and His love, independent of our efforts or worth that accomplishes our salvation. If you feel unworthy of His grace and love, you are not alone. We, each and every one of us, are so completely unworthy. And yet we matter to Him, so much so He died for us. It is Inexplicable.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, (Romans 5:8).
We love, because He first loved us, (1 John 4:19).
May we humbly learn from one woman, one immoral, unworthy outcast. Although we cannot explain Him, may we remain undone, knocked off our feet to bow before Him in worship.
And may we too, like the Samaritan woman, be willing to forego reputation and pride to unashamedly run and tell, to bring others to Him, that they too would believe and follow His Inexplicable Itinerary.
So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?” 30 They went out of the city, and were coming to Him… 39 From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done,” (4:28-29, 39).