Initiate or Respond
(John 4:10KJV) 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.
The story of the woman at the well is one of my favorite stories in the Bible. The reason I like it so much is because I tend to see things in picture form which makes this story like watching a movie in living color.
Jesus initiated the conversation with the woman at the well by asking her for a drink of water. However, drinking water was not His highest priority because He was actually sent there on a mission from His Father.
Jesus said in John 5:19 that “He only did what He saw His Father doing”. In other words His first priority was not drinking water but imitating His Father.
For Jesus to carry out His Father’s will, He had to go out of His way to do it. John 4:3 says that Jesus was on His way to Galilee but He had to go to Samaria first. Samaria was not on the way to Galilee so that meant that He had to go out of His way in order to get onto His Father’s way.
Even though there are so many wonderful teachings in this story the one that jumps out to me the most is when Jesus said, “I only do what I see my Father doing”.
As a result of both Jesus and His Father being initiators I have made a point over the years of studying what makes others initiators as well. My conclusion is that when one first comes to know the Lord he is motivated by the same fire and desire of the Lord…and that is to do the Father’s will.
I have also come to the conclusion that when one starts out as an initiator and ends up as a responder many times it is because of fear. In other words, to the degree that the fire goes out of a person that is the same degree that fear comes in. When fear moves in it also brings its family. The names of the fear family members are pride and selfishness.
My intent in writing this Meditation is not to bring shame to another brother or sister. It is simply to point out that when the fires of God begin to go out in one’s life then somehow that turns off the switch from being a spiritual initiator and turns on the switch to only becoming a responder.
In regard to friends, I have also noticed that most of them are responders rather than initiators. At first they start out as initiators but over time they end up being only responders. They are happy to initiate phone calls to one another in the beginning of their friendship but usually end up only responding to calls and eventually lose contact all together.
Several years ago there was a pastor in my city who was going through a very difficult time in his life. I heard about his difficulties so I came to his aid. His wife (who had been a vital part of his ministry) had recently passed away. As a result of her passing his church was not only falling apart but he was in financial stress. Because of all his problems his mental condition was also on the edge of collapsing.
I began to walk with this pastor through every step of every day. My wife and I spent countless hours praying for him and meeting his needs in any way we could. He spent a lot of time in our home and we cared for him and offered financial advice. I met with his church leaders and encouraged them as they went through this horrible experience. This whole process lasted for many months but we finally began to see light at the end of the tunnel.
As I look back at this whole ordeal I realize that I was the initiator of love to help this pastor through his problems because I was attempting to imitate Jesus. When one is motivated by such love then there is obviously no expectation of a return love because the joy is in the giving.
Even to this day I still initiate a phone call to check on this pastor even though he has never initiated a phone call back to me.
I do love the way Jesus went out of His way in order to get on Your way for the sake of giving this troubled woman a drink of living water. Thank You Lord for this tremendous example of both Your love and Jesus’s obedience. My desire is to imitate Jesus.Amen