Encouraging Like Jesus

Sometimes things don’t go well.

Her first marriage had been an arranged one. She was young and afraid, but hopeful. He was older and had other wives. She did not conceive. They mistreated her. Her hope was crushed, her heart broken. 

When he died, she was taken by his brother as was the custom. Although she was determined to show her worth, she did not conceive, and he did not value her. 

He died, and she was taken by another brother. When again she did not conceive, he divorced her. Now, no longer young, she had neither protector nor provider, a dangerous condition for a woman of that era. The worst of scenarios.

An older man saw her and took pity on her. He took her for his own. Although he cared for her, he did not love her. It was a marriage of necessity. Her heart grew hard from constant sorrow. 

When he died, she was passed on to his brother, but she was unable to bear another cold marriage. She stayed only two months before doing the unthinkable. She left. She joined a caravan and traveled to Sychar, in Samaria. After a few weeks there, she met a man and joined with him. 

It was in this condition that she came one afternoon to draw water from the well. She came in the afternoon to avoid the crowds because she was a social outcast. But when she arrived, there was a man there. Another man whose scorn she must endure. What now? It seemed like he had been waiting for her. 

He asked for a drink. She threw up her defenses. She stalled. She was sarcastic. When he revealed her private sorrows, she tried to change the subject. Anything to deflect the criticism she expected him to level upon her.  But none came.

He smiled at her. He spoke kindly to her. He did not impose himself upon her. He offered her living water. He spoke to her about God and worship. Then he revealed himself as the Messiah, and she became an instant apostle, going into the city and bringing the men to Jesus.

Sometimes things don’t go well. But take heart. God can still use them, and us, to marvelous effect. 

Jesus loved this woman. He encouraged her by his gentleness, kindness, and respect. We have a Savior of hope. He is the light of the world. Let us take his example and be his light of encouragement to all who see us.

– James Willeford, Herald of Truth Ministries