Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4 And he had to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
John 4: 1-6 ESV
Jesus was leaving Judea for Galilee. “And he had to pass through Samaria” (v4). Going through Samaria is a shortcut to reach Galilee from Judea, but some strict Jews wouldn’t want any contact with the despised Samaritans, so they would take a longer route into Galilee. So passing through Samaria was not the only route to get to Galilee. Why did Jesus have to pass through Smaria? This was not a geographic requirement, but a need that the Lord saw in someone’s heart prompting the necessity of this midway stop. As we read further into chapter 4 later, we may see that Jesus was purposely taking this route, so He could stop by Samaria to bring a very important message to a Samaritan woman.
The Lord never fails to have his unique and personal way to reach out to His people! From seeing the true Israelite Nathanael who was sitting under the fig tree, to calling the fishermen by the shore; from touching the eyes of the blind to touching the hand of the man with leprosy. And now walked in a day’s journey to Samaria, wearied and thirsty, just to meet a Samaritan woman, a social outcast, to bring her hope to a life that will never run dry and thirsty. I’m touched by those extra miles that the Lord is always willing to travel just to reach out to a wandering soul. As if coming all the way from heaven to earth, going from Bethlehem to Calvary, and from Calvary to Joseph’s tomb, were not far enough. How far would the Lord come to search for me? One may ask. Just trace back on the routes how He has come to find you, and the people He had sent to bring you back to His family. Even at times when we think we are unsearchable, He would still be able to meet us right where we are. This reminds me of Psalm 139 and how God brought back His runaway servant, Jonah – Where Can I Go From Your Presence? That’s our loving Lord! He’d never give up on us. He is good!
Now, how far are we willing to follow Him, and go for Him? May the Lord lead us to His heart and follow Him closely.
Dear Lord, thank you for coming all the way from heaven to search for me. From the manger to the cross, from the cross to the grave, You’ve come a long way to look for me and to bring me home. When I stumble and fall, you would still search for me as far as needed, to meet me where I am at, and set my feet on solid ground again. Thank you Lord, for never giving up on me! Lead me to your heart and help me to follow You, wherever You go.