Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water. John 4:10
Olivia’s response to Jesus’s request for water seems defensive. Maybe her day wasn’t going well. Perhaps she wasn’t in the mood for any foolishness, especially from a Jew. So, she states the obvious, why are You asking a favor from me, a Samaritan woman, “for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.” (John 4:7).
Remember those old assumptions, those old cultural barriers. Olivia replies to Jesus’s request by reminding Him of their history. She also informs Jesus that she is not only a Samaritan but a woman. During this period, women were considered second-class citizens and excluded from many activities we take for granted today. For example, women did not lead out in a worship service; they were only permitted to go into the court of Women in the temple. In addition, it was not considered favorable if a man spoke with a woman in public. Jesus came to remove those class barriers and social norms that devalued women.
Jesus’s answers question is so like Jesus… He aims straight for the heart. I imagine Jesus has been looking forward to this conversation all day. Remember, this is a divine appointment, not a chance meeting. He draws her into a conversation by reminding her that water in the middle east is considered a gift from God that is generously provided to a stranger. She should have been quick to offer Him water seeing that Olivia believes that she already possesses the gift of God.
I’m reminded of a verse to an old hymn written by William W. How in 1853, “We give Thee but Thine own, What-e’er the gift may be; All that we have is Thine alone, A trust, O Lord, from Thee.” Olivia stood in the presence of the One who created the water, the gift of God.
Let’s pause for a moment.
God has given the church many gifts. Our talents in running a business are one of those gifts. Whether we hire people to help run our business that is more skilled in a particular area than we are, such as accounting, it’s still a talent given to them by the Lord.
I enjoy writing; however, for years, I believed having dyslexia disqualified me from being a professional writer until… Jesus rewrote the definition of a professional writer for me. We will initially be at odds with Jesus’s definition of success or failure until we learn to see it from His perspective. Once we can do that, we are well on our way to conducting our business/ministry from the center of the will of God.
And it’s good to remember that our gifts and talents are not ours; they belong to God on loan to us to accomplish work in us and build up His kingdom. When we start treating God’s gifts as something that belongs to us, we will diminish their worth. We can only be a steward, a manager of something that belongs to someone else, which means we must explain how we have managed and taken care of the talents, gifts, business, and ministry the Lord has given us.
The gift of life is even more precious than the talents we are given or the water in the well that Olivia came seeking. What are you seeking? Why have you come to the well? Make sure you don’t leave without it… Because Jesus will ensure that you possess so much more than you came seeking.
Until next time… Have a blessed week.