A Risky Walk

30 miles. 

It’s just a little longer than a marathon, which is 26.2 miles. The winner of the Boston marathon set the record this year for 2 hours, 8 minutes, 37 seconds. 

It’s just a little longer than the distance from the Creekwood building to the mall in Spanish Fort. Driving there takes over 30 minutes. According to Google Maps, walking would take you over 9 hours. 

30 miles. It’s the distance from Jerusalem (in the region of Judea) to Sychar (which is in Samaria). 

In John 4, Jesus walks 30 miles to have a conversation with a Samaritan woman. 30 miles. Walking. With a Samaritan (who were hated by the Jews). Who was a woman (most rabbis would never be seen talking with a woman in public, much less a Samaritan woman). 

Having this conversation with this woman would be scandalous. It would be risky. What would others think about a Rabbi who talks privately with Samaritan women? What would others think about a Rabbi who actually travels through Samaria instead of walking an additional 50 miles to bypass the area? 

Having this conversation would risk Jesus’ reputation and his credibility. But he didn’t care. This woman needed living water. And that’s exactly what Jesus gave her.

So in John 4, it’s no surprise that Jesus stops at a well to get a drink. He’s been walking for 30 miles. I’d be thirsty too. In his conversation with this unnamed Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, we learn some very important truths. 

We are all searching for something. This woman was searching for meaning, attention and affection. That’s why she’d been married & divorced five times, and was currently living with a man who wasn’t her husband. But let’s not be too judgmental. Many of us are searching for the same things. That’s why we struggle with self-esteem. That’s why some constantly need to be in a relationship. That’s why some struggle with substance abuse and binge drinking. 

Just like for the woman at the well, what we are searching for is right in front of our eyes. In Christ, we find our meaning in life. In Christ, we receive attention from the Almighty God. In Christ, we find the affection from brotherly love that is found in the church. 

Jesus is all we need. He is what you’ve been searching for.

Jesus’ love is for all. He walked 30 miles to let a Samaritan woman know that she mattered. That she could have a second (or 7th) chance. And he would do the same for you and me. 

The church is filled with different people. People who were “good” growing up. People who’ve tried every drug under the sun. People who are “normal”. People who are different. Nuclear families. Blended families. Singles. Widowed. Newlyweds. Young. Old. Extroverts. Introverts. Black. White. Hispanic. Asian. From all walks of life. 

Yet in Christ, we are one. In Christ, we embrace what makes each of us different, yet we recognize what brings us all together. 

Jesus’ love is for all. It’s for people you like, and for people you don’t like. It’s for people who are like you, and for people who are nothing like you. 

Would you walk 30 miles to share Jesus’ love with someone? Even if others thought you were crazy? Even if your reputation and credibility were on the line? I hope so. 

But maybe that person isn’t 30 miles away. Maybe they are 3 desks away. At another lunch table. Or sitting on the other side of the teen room. They are searching for something. They need Jesus’ love. Will you be the one who starts walking?

Because…don’t forget…Jesus took a walk for you. From Pilate’s Praetorium to Golgotha. Carrying his own cross. Proving that he would walk anywhere to show you his love. 

 — Eric Gray