When the disciples find Jesus talking to the Samaritan woman, they miss the point altogether. They fail to see that Jesus has ministry on his mind as they focus on their stomachs. And Jesus would rather connect someone with heaven than eat lunch…
27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”
28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.
The disciples came back from town with food and found Jesus talking to the Samaritan woman. They immediately questioned in their minds why he was speaking to a woman. Which serves to illustrate that they had their minds on the wrong thing. They were focused on cultural norms and expectations and not on ministry.
They didn’t ask Jesus about it – they just judged him. Nice, eh? Often we care so much about what people think that we act according to the world, judge according to the world, and miss the purpose and ministry of God.
So instead of asking Jesus about the ministry he was up to with the woman, they asked him something different. Jesus, would you like some food? As is common across the book of John, the people Jesus meets are stuck in the earthly and the physical while Jesus is focused on the eternal and spiritual.
It happened with the Pharisees, it happened with Nicodemus, and it happened with the Samaritan woman also. We live the limitations of our flesh and Jesus wants us to live spiritually. What does that look like?
For one thing, you don’t get hungry. Jesus answered them and said he has food they don’t know about – his food is to do God’s will. Ministry sustains the spirit. And it’s more important than food and water. Because it’s living water. Now don’t get me wrong – Jesus was the model of balance and rejuvenation also. This isn’t about burnout. It’s about purpose.
Where are you focused on culture and norms and missing the chance to make a mission impact?