"And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour." (John 4:4-6, ESV)
This passage was a recent focus from my pastor. It's well-worn and the flannel graph of the past come easily to mind, though the colors have doubtless faded quite a bit. But I heard the story with fresh ears and, as the message went on, the presentation and my thoughts came together in the following notes.
She had a name. She once was somebody's little girl. Her current life was the sum of her choices and circumstances. She had known love at some point but had now settled into a routine that nobody would have made their first choice or even anywhere on their top 100. Yet here she is now face to face with Life and Love because Jesus needed to take a detour right to the well she used every day.
Expecting to be ignored she finds herself in the conversation of a lifetime. She'll leave this encounter completely changed. And the result should challenge the way we plan out our lives rather than just live them and make ourselves available for the next "yes" we encounter.
Think about that last sentence for a moment. Are you looking out in anticipation for the "yeses" that you will encounter? Are you willing to stop your business long enough to engage somebody else - somebody who has a name and a story and is valued by Father God? Have you embraced your own forgiveness to such a degree that you can easily offer that Living Water to a world parched and dry who looks so desperately for anything that numbs the ache for just 5 minutes?
The Crooked Path is rarely predictable. Trying to make it so isn't really our purpose. We need to be ready and willing to engage those we come across because we have something they need so very much ... even if they don't realize it. And every single one of them has a name.