John 4 and Luke 19:10

David Hellyer considers the implications for those around us when we get too driven.

David Hellyer
David Hellyer

I don't know about you, but my social media timelines these days seem to be full to bursting with inspirational quotes and go-getter messages to encourage you to follow your dreams, regardless of what anyone else tells you.

Whenever I see quotes like that, I get a mental image of a car being driven at speed with the windows up and the music playing. The person is so driven that they will allow nothing and no-one to distract them.

You may think that's an admirable quality, and in a certain way it is, but then we remember the law of unintended consequences. If I'm so driven that I ignore those around me, (with my windows up, speakers blasting to block out all distractions), am I ignoring the very 'distraction' I am here for? Are the people that are around us a distraction, or where the real action should be?

I've always found John 4 a fascinating chapter. At the outset it is very clear that Jesus is on a journey from Judea, (in the South of the country), to Galilee, (in the North of the country). This journey would have probably taken two or three days to complete on foot.

Whilst en route Jesus and His disciples stop in Samaria. Verse six tells us that Jesus, 'tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime.' I don't think Jesus had opted for hitching a ride on a camel or donkey; it seems He was making the journey on foot.

When you make any substantial journey on foot, you have to be more measured and consistent with how you go about your journey. Regular rests and refreshment points are needed, something we can easily forget in our fast paced culture. The encounter that Jesus has with the woman at the well ultimately leads to Jesus prolonging His stay in the village by two days. We are told in verses 40-41, 'long enough for many more to hear His message and believe.' Quite remarkable for a conversation that appears to start over a cup of water.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs states that the most basic needs humans have include things like food, water, rest and sleep. Jesus tells us in John 4:34 that His 'food is to do the will of Him who sent Me.' It's as if Jesus was saying that the most basic requirement He had was to do God's will.

Jesus Himself tells us what that looks like in Luke 19:10, 'the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.' The thought that Jesus was open to the 'interruption' to His journey fascinates me. It's as if the destination of His journey and the purpose of His journey were connected but not the same. The destination was Galilee, this was where He was travelling to, but the purpose of his journey was, (as always), to seek and to save the lost.

In our lives we all make our own metaphorical journeys from Judea to Galilee, and we all have to choose whether we will be 'driven' and ignore the distraction of the woman at the well, choosing instead to press on to reach our destination.

Don't allow the destination ahead of you to blind you to those around you on your journey. Always remain connected to the purpose of the journey you are on and allow yourself to be 'interrupted'. It might make all the difference in the world to the other person! CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.