I’ve been pondering more on ‘Christ in You: the hope of glory’ and my thoughts have taken me to John 3 and 4.
In John 3 Jesus is talking to a ‘Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews‘ but shortly after in John 4 He is talking to an unnamed woman at a well in Samaria. The two encounters seem very different.
- It is night time when Nicodemus speaks with Jesus but in the heat of the day at noon for the woman
- Nicodemus has a position and standing in the community as a ruler but the woman is isolated visiting the well alone instead of typically in the cool of the day with the other women. She’s doesn’t even have a position in a family, let alone the community.
- A Pharisee would have lived strictly by a moral code and seen to do the right thing . The fact this woman had 5 previous husbands and living with a 6th reflected not just her different moral code but also the men who placed no value on her.
- At least Nicodemus sought out Jesus to ask questions. The woman doesn’t know who Jesus is and simply encounters a stranger at the well.
- the man responds to Jesus with rational, reasoned questions whilst the woman reacts to the experience of truth.
Different, but still the same and if we are honest our experience is found in both of them too.
They are both hiding who they are from other people. Nicodemus perhaps couldn’t have asked those questions in public with his position of ruler. He would have been perceived as having all the answers already. The woman attends to her chores alone in the inconvenient heat. She too couldn’t be herself around the other women who knew all about her and her disgraced position in the community because of failed relationships. How many people can we actually be ourselves around?
They both meet Jesus alone- a private moment of vulnerability. It’s this space that allows for the personal encounter with Jesus. You see both have questions, but it’s Jesus’ questions that opens them, and us, up. To Nicodemus he asks, ‘Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?‘ for the woman He says ‘go call your husband‘. Both these requests would have cut to the core issue. Nicodemus for all his study and observance of the law still had not found fulfillment for what he craved. For the woman she had sought to find meaning and worth in her status as a wife which offered her no answers either despite trying 5 times. The joy here is that Jesus doesn’t do that to belittle them or pass judgement but to truthfully expose the driest area in their lives in order that Living Water flows to restore, revive and renew every place. When you meet Jesus you can open up and it’s not so you expose the real you to Him: it’s so He can reveal who you really are, to you!
John Anderson, in his book, Jesus the Inner Spring’ puts it this way, ‘ We shall admit that our lives, with their relationships and their out workings, are dead. we shall say,’ I have nothing.’ That is preparing the way for the Inner Spring’
When we all see that we are a no-body with no-thing, the Someone with everything is right there offering Himself. We’re born again into hope by water and spirit. Living water that becomes a well inside of us springing up into life. The well is Jesus Himself abiding with us. Christ in you: the hope of glory. Christ in us takes the no-body with no-thing and puts the Someone inside us. The real you is revealed in all of who He is.
John the baptist understood when he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” It’s not about having or not having a position or title. It’s not about our efforts or lack of them. It is all about being a nobody in ourselves so we can reveal the Somebody that is Jesus.
We’ve actually moved from no-body to being His-body. Our significance and security is settled so that we understand how special we are because we are in union with Him.
I can’t acknowledge this quote as I don’t know who wrote it but it’s profound:
“you carry the fountain of hope in you. The Kingdom’s way is you carrying the life of Christ, the Presence of God in the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s NOT about you but it’s ALL about the One Living inside of you. When people encounter you nothing happens but when they encounter the Presence of God abiding in you, the atmosphere shifts because of Him dwelling inside of us. HE is life! HE is light! HE is healing! HE is provision! He is wisdom! HE is love! In Him ALL things consist.”
Nobodies with nothing is now just right: joined to the Someone with everything and the only think we can help with is step out the way long enough for Jesus to be Himself through us. Let’s be empty so He can fill and overflow!