Monday, April 4, 2011

A Divine Appointment

A few weeks ago I spoke at a conference on “Worshiping in Spirit and in Truth.” The key passage was John 4:23-24. I dedicated the first of three teaching sessions to setting the context for this passage before focusing on worshiping in spirit at the second session and worshiping in truth at the third.

The context for John 4:23-24 begins in John 4:1. As I read through the chapter, John 4:4 caught my attention. It says, “Now he had to go through Samaria.” Jesus was leaving Judea and going back to Galilee but the region of Samaria was between His place of origin and His destination. It might seem logical that He had to go through Samaria. However, I can think of three reasons why it was odd that He had to go through Samaria.

  1. Jews and Samaritans had an intense and mutual dislike for each other. They avoided any and all contact.
  2. By going around Samaria to the east, Jesus and His disciples could have followed the Jordan River.  The river would have provided a constant water supply as they traveled.
  3. Going around Samaria and along the Jordan would have avoided the rough and rocky terrain of Samaria.
Why does the Bible say Jesus had to go through Samaria? In Greek, two words are used for “had.” 

The first word is chre which is a necessity resulting from time and circumstances. For example, I might say, “I had to leave for work at 7:30 or I would have been late.” The time and circumstances necessitate an action on my part. 

The second word is dei which is a necessity resulting from a moral obligation or a divine appointment. An example for this word might be, “I had to go spend some time with my friend because she is going through a hard time.” In this case, the moral obligation of being a kind and supportive friend is necessitating an action on my part. 

The second word is the one used in John 4:4. The circumstances didn’t necessitate that Jesus and the disciples travel through Samaria. Quite the opposite, as I mentioned earlier, this chosen route wasn’t the socially acceptable thing to do, it didn’t guarantee their needs would be met, and it was a difficult journey. 

However, Jesus had a divine appointment with a woman at a well in Sychar.  He would do whatever it took to make sure He kept that divine appointment because His message was too important to not share. That woman at the well would drink of the living water He offered and receive eternal life. In turn, she would share the message of the Messiah with the people of her town and many more would come to know Him. 

I wonder how often we let those three fears keep us from the divine appointments God might have for us. This lesson may have convicted me more than any of the women listening to me teach that day. But it hits on the heart of Grow Barefoot. I want to Live Free...Pursue Holiness...No Excuses.


  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this Divine Appointment. For stretching my brain with the two different usages for "had"!

  2. You're welcome, Sheri! I'm glad you enjoyed it.