It’s hard to make a list on tumblr. So I made it on notebook paper.
Last Sunday I visited a church in Nashville and the preacher talked about forgiveness, the power of Jesus’ judgment to change a life, that kind of thing. It was excellent.
The text he camped out in was John 4 and Jesus’ interaction with the woman at the well. In passing, he mentioned that chapter four of John seems intentionally positioned after chapter 3—that each story parallels the other in a kind of inverse way. These stories are so similar, but then again, they’re opposites.
Both of these accounts describe private meetings with seekers. Both meetings divulge the source of eternal life—Jesus. And both interactions are wet with water imagery. But the differences are more significant, perhaps, than the similarities. (Here’s where you consult the list)
We really notice the power of chapter four because it comes after chapter three. We feel the thrill of this woman’s discovery, because we watched as a much more educated, much more “religious” man missed it just a page earlier. Common sense says that Nicodemus should have been the one telling his friends, that Nicodemus should have understood Jesus’ metaphors, that Nicodemus should have seen Jesus’ true identity. But instead, an unclean Samaritan woman beat him to it.
There are tons of lessons here for us:
*Don’t pre-decide who will and will not be a “good candidate” for the good news.
*Don’t assume that because you’re religious, you’re right.
*Don’t assume that because you’re lost, Jesus doesn’t want to find you.
*Don’t be afraid to get involved in messy lives.
And of course that’s just the first four that ran through my head—lots of good lessons brought home through a really cool juxtaposition of events. Oh the power of a literary device. :)
Thanks God for caring so much about the way your story is told.