The more I study the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, the more amazed I am at the way Jesus relates to, and connects with, people.
And the more obvious is the contrast between how He addresses the powerful and how He deals with the lowly.
For instance, in John 2 He enters the Temple and, outraged at the corruption and exploitation displayed, makes a whip, overturns the tables of the money changers, and drives the animals out of the Temple courts.
Another time, He was angry at the religious leaders for their hypocrisy and lack of compassion, and deliberately healed a man on the Sabbath in the synagogue, knowing full well that it would provoke them to plot His death [see Mk 3:1-6].
“You snakes, you brood of vipers,” He calls the scribes and Pharisees in Matt 23:33; “Snakes in the grass,” one translation puts it.
‘Gentle Jesus, meek and mild…’ Hmm, maybe not.
Yet He was the polar opposite with the hurting, the oppressed, the sick, the lonely. We see it in the gentle way He deals with this woman at the well. He knows her life story; He knows her sin. Yet He treats her with dignity, offers her living water, and invites her to come back.
Zacchaeus, the hated tax-collector, climbed a tree in his eagerness to see this man that everyone was talking about [Lk 19:1-10]. Jesus spotted him, and called out, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”
A woman who had been bleeding incurably for 12 years snuck through a crowd to touch the hem of His robe [see Mk 5:24-34]. She was instantly healed. Jesus asked who touched Him (in the midst of a great, jostling crowd!). She approached Him “in fear and trembling,” confessing that it was her. “Daughter…” He called her. “Daughter…”
‘Gentle Jesus, meek and mild…’ You bet!
So, what’s the difference? I think it’s the heart. Some people cared more about themselves, about protecting their power, and projecting their superiority. Pharisees, I’m looking at you! Jesus had little patience with them.
Others knew they were broken and had nothing to offer. Jesus had nothing but time for them.
Jesus Himself said He came to seek and to save the lost. He came to “proclaim good news to the poor… to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour” [Lk 4:18-19].
The first requirement to receive the compassion of Jesus is recognising your own brokenness. When you do that, you are perfectly placed to come to Him for healing and repair. He never turns away the one who comes to Him in humility.
Have you done that? Will you do that? I promise, you’ll never regret it.