We see many instances in the Bible where people took detours – Elijah, Elisha, the children of Israel, Moses, Paul ... most all of the people we read about had to travel a detour for the glory of God.
And Jesus also took detours and always to manifest the power and love of God.
The Jewish people didn’t choose to take the road through Samaria when they traveled from Judea to Galilee. The Jews both disliked and feared the Samaritans, calling them mongrel people.
But Jesus had a reason for taking this detour through Samaria. John 4:4 (KJV) says, “ And he must needs go through Samaria.”
So Jesus and His disciples arrived at the village of Sychar, about 25 miles from Jerusalem. And while the dsciples went into town to buy food – it was the sixth hour of the day, noon – Jesus sat down at Jacob’s well.
When a woman came to draw water, He simply said, “Give me to drink.”
Jesus put himself in a very “politically incorrect” situation when he engaged in conversation with this woman at the well in Samaria.
Obviously Jesus was a Jew – How dare he ask her for water. She knew how the Jews regarded the Samaritans.
But Jesus was opening the door for a miracle in her life. What a contrast from the last time we see Jesus explaining “born again” to a ruler of the Jews. He had gone to the other end of the spectrum — here was an outcast.
To Jesus,this woman was just as important and just as worthy to receive the gift of eternal life as anyone. John 3:17 tells us: “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
Jesus was on her ground and He went to her heart through a common bond of need – “Give me to drink.”
And she responded by baring her feelings and then her life. She became an evanglist to the village. Forgetting about her waterpot and purpose for going to the well, she had more important news to tell: “Come see a man .. is not this the Christ?” How could have known that when she began her day,she would meet the Messiah and have her life rearranged. Meeting the Saviour does just that.
Jesus knows just how to appoach a hungry heart. He is not condescending. He ignores sex, race, or nationality. And people respond to love.
A few years ago, I was amazed at a woman I knew who had a zeal to reach people. One particular Saturday she visited people in her small town to invite them to Sunday cchool. She went to a mechanic’s house and handed him wrenches while he worked on a motor; she went to a housewife who was making a dress and helped work out a problem at the sewing machine; she went to an elderly couple’s home, fixed them lunch and sat down with them to eat – in every place she identified with the people she met. And that Sunday morning, there were 43 new people in church that she had touched for the Lord.
How many times does Christ put us in situations so we can minister to others. It may not be convenient. What we view as accidental encounters could have been arranged by God himself – not only for that person’s salvation, but for our own spiritual health and growth in Him.