This season, we’re blessed with a set of Lenten devotionals by contributing author Lee Hinkle. Find out more about Lee at the bottom of this article, or at hinkledownunder.com.
John 4:1-26 (ESV)
We like the familiar. I have a habit of listening to Casey Kasem’s “American Top 40” from the 80’s. I started this when I was growing up in the 80’s; later in life, thanks to streaming apps and websites, I was able to find radio stations around the US who played a remastered version of a particular week in a particular year each week-end. So every Saturday morning I would listen to “American Top 40” while doing something around the house. My kids now love 80’s music. That might not be a good thing. It is familiar. It is comforting. It is safe.
It has been a little bit difficult in our lives for something to feel familiar. It has even been difficult to find the replays of Top 40 that play since I live in a time zone that is 13 hours different from Indiana. That is, until a few days ago when I found an “American Top 40” Seventies and Eighties edition station on “IHeart Radio”. (Please don’t take that as an endorsement of the app). They play a countdown from the 70’s, then the 80’s, then the 70’s, then the 80’s… you get the picture. It is familiar. It is safe. I know them. I know the voice and I know the songs.
When Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman, she is looking for anything familiar. His first request for water puts her in an unknown and unfamiliar situation. “You do know that I am a Samaritan, right?” Jesus presses in, “If you knew…” She rebuts with the familiar. “You don’t have the right tools, you don’t know my well. Who do you think you are? This well has a long good history.” Jesus provides a little more Truth. “…you would never be thirsty again.”
Her familiar is painful, but it is her familiar. She has grown accustomed to the whispers. She has learned to not mind going to the well by herself. It was easier than the stares and possible confrontation. But if I don’t have to do it again… if I can never be thirsty again, it might be worth the risk to step into discomfort. “Give me this water.”
when you are being undone by the Saviour, you should not be surprised by what you might run to as familiar.
Jesus says, “I who speak to you am he.” Earth shattered. The familiar is torn away. Hope breaks into the humdrum, bleak and desperate world. “I…am He.”
Father, break us free from our familiar. Let us see you as the one who interrupts and brings us to the true beginning of our lives.
Jesus, thank you for your mercy and kindness; you come to save and not condemn. You speak the Truth and it rattles us, challenges us and changes us. You know our stories and where we are even more than we do, but still seek after us. Still pursue us will mercy and grace. You bring us to your Truth and allow it to transform our true. You judge us through your own righteousness.
Spirit, when we get comfortable and to relaxed in our familiar, rouse us with your call to the Truth and God’s destroying comfort that transforms us into His children. Amen.
Where are you too familiar? Where have you grown comfortable? I am not saying you need to move across the world, but it sure might seem like that type of move. God is disruptive in His love for you. Pray that He will reveal those areas that have become too familiar, and have become a safe place for your sin to hide. Is it pride, that you are doing so well following God? Is it shame, for past sins you think God can’t forgive? Whatever is comfort—that is not Jesus—is not true comfort. Share this place of the familiar with someone you trust and ask them to pray with you that God will disrupt and move you deeper into the knowledge of His love for you.
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Lee Hinkle is an American pastor who, with his family of 7, felt God’s call to pack up and plant a church in Fremantle, a town in Perth, Western Australia. Last Summer, the Hinkles left Indianapolis and arrived in Oz to begin their work. You can follow their adventures at hinkledownunder.com.