When my wife and I began sharing with others that we believed God wanted us to make a significant change in our ministry roles and our church body, it was very difficult for many people to accept, including us at times. It didn’t make sense. Nobody chooses to demote themselves. Yet, the prompting and direction of the Spirit was unmistakable. Sometimes obedience to the Father seems risky, feels uncomfortable, and goes against social norms. But those factors are also accompanied by a divine compulsion and quickened sense of mission: a “holy gotta.”
- Can you recall a time when you received an unmistakable prompting from God—a “holy gotta” that felt risky, beyond the norm, and mysteriously inviting?
READ THE WORD: JOHN 4:1-6 (ESV)
4:1 Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4 And he had to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 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.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Verse 3 makes it clear that Jesus’ exit from Judea was a reaction. What was he reacting to?
- What are some possible ramifications of Jesus’ ministry beginning to gain widespread notoriety (vss. 1-2)?
- When the text states that Jesus “had to” pass through Samaria, what might that imply?
- What do you think it may have “cost” Jesus and his followers to go this route? Can you think of any gains?
- Is there a growing, God-given desire within you to do something that breaks from conventional wisdom or is against social norms that would richly bless others?
RESPOND TO GOD
The path through Samaria wasn’t the usual path for devout Jews. It was risky, uncomfortable, and went solidly against the expectations of the culture. But what a payoff! Jesus “had to” go through Samaria. The “had to” wasn’t forced on him by circumstances or human will. It was the divine invitation of his Heavenly Father. Jesus knew that genuine satisfaction and fulfillment is found in nothing short of absolute obedience to the Father. Our Heavenly Father continues to issue divine invitations to trust him and obey. These invitations will be packed with doubts, risk, discomfort—and an internal allure that pushes us forward anyway.
- Thoughtfully pray, asking the Lord to bring to mind any “holy gottas” that have not been acted upon in full obedience.
- Ask God for the courage and faith to follow and obey.