After seeing a great movie in the theater, I like to rent it at home and watch it again (and again), especially the high impact scenes. I love being able to focus in, selecting a particular point in the movie and pressing “Play”.
Reading the Bible is sort of like that. Take the chapter about the woman at the well, for instance. Though we know only a little about this woman’s life before or after she met Jesus, when we open to John 4, and begin reading at that point, one scene of her life ‘replays’ for us.
It is the scene of highest impact in her life, when Jesus tells her all she has ever done (John 4:17-19, 29) and when He speaks to her about “living water” that will quench her spiritual thirst forever (vs. 4:13-14). It is the scene where she reveals to Him her hope (“I know that Messiah…is coming”) and where He reveals to her that He is already there (“I who speak to you am he“) (vs. 4:25, 26).
It’s so powerful, so intense. I have to keep reminding myself that it isn’t just a dramatic scene, like in a movie. It’s real. It really happened.
At one distinct point in time and space, Jesus came to a Samaritan woman drawing water from a well and spoke to her about forgiveness and salvation in Him, revealing God’s great love for her. He saw her life stretched out before Him, and He intersected it at a carefully chosen point.
And today we can meet up with them both at that point, again and again, in God’s Living Word. In the Word we can ‘replay’ scenes in the lives of people whose lives intersect with ours at the same point – Jesus.
We all long to be seen and loved. We long for meaning and purpose in our lives. I think that’s why we watch movies, to intersect with characters who are also longing for these things.
All of our longings find fulfillment in Jesus Christ, who sees us and loves us, and who at one crucial point in human history gave up his life for us, dying on the Cross for our sins, and then rose again to life, so that we can be forgiven and live forever with Him!
It’s interesting that Jesus revealed Himself to the woman while He was alone with her at the well (the disciples had gone off to buy food). Jesus also revealed himself in personal conversations with Nicodemus (John 3:13-16), with the man born blind (John 9:35-38) and, even more powerfully, with Martha: “…I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die…” (John 11:25-27).
“Do you believe this?” Jesus asked Martha. “Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”
It’s in our personal time with Him that Jesus says to us “I am He” and we say to Him “I believe, Lord”.