Have you ever given thought to the notion that while we are so preoccupied with the rapid pace of life, we fail to give the people right in front of us the attention they deserve? I often find myself looking for balance with the day to day grind of tasks (which undoubtedly need to get done) and spending time with someone who just wants to talk (which is where much of our individual growth happens).
I recently read this poem from Jamie Tworkowski which I believe echos the issue:
“You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips. Airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs, but people more than anything else. You will need other people and you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living breathing screaming invitation to believe better things.”
How do you respond to this? I, personally, was thinking about Jesus and how He interacted with people throughout the gospel and while I didn’t see much account of Him referring to people by name, what I was struck by was the way the gospel writers gave us a sense of how Jesus paused to simply be with people while still working to communicate what we refer to as the gospel today. Look at this one account where he talks with the Samaritan Woman at the well:
A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
What strikes you about this passage? It is not unique the amount of time and attention he paid to this woman?
We need to be that other person that Jamie was referring too in her poem mentioned above. We need to be 100% present in each of our conversations. This is how we develop a sense of community. This is where people’s transformational stories take shape. This is where we celebrate, learn, affirm and deepen our own sense of what God is doing. We must look at Jesus’ model and replicate it in our lives – both for the betterment of ourselves and those around us.