During a landscape painting class, the teacher, a highly experienced professional artist, assessed my first assignment. He stood silently in front of my painting, one hand cupping his chin. Here we go, I thought. He’s going to say it’s terrible.
But he didn’t.
He said he liked the color scheme and the feeling of openness. Then he mentioned that the trees in the distance could be lightened. A cluster of weeds needed softer edges. He had the authority to criticize my work based on the rules of perspective and color, yet his critique was truthful and kind.
Jesus, who was perfectly qualified to condemn people for their sin, didn’t use the Ten Commandments to crush a Samaritan woman He met at an ancient watering hole. He gently critiqued her life with just a handful of statements. The result was that she saw how her search for satisfaction had led her into sin. Building on this awareness, Jesus revealed Himself as the only source of eternal satisfaction (John 4:10–13).
The combination of grace and truth that Jesus used in this situation is what we experience in our relationship with Him (1:17). His grace prevents us from being overwhelmed by our sin, and His truth prevents us from thinking it isn’t a serious matter.
Will we invite Jesus to show us areas of our lives where we need to grow so we can become more like Him?
How is Jesus using grace and truth to point out issues in your life? Where might He want you to make changes to honour Him more fully?
In the prelude to today’s text, Jesus decided to leave Judea and head back to Galilee with His disciples (John 4:3). But instead of taking the longer route usually taken by the Jews to avoid meeting Samaritans, whom they detested, Jesus “had to go through Samaria” (v. 4). Jesus was compelled to go to Samaria, knowing that there He would meet a woman at a well who desperately needed “living water” (v. 11)—and that through her His message would extend to others (vv. 39–42).