Your Neighbor Matters
By Weston Schnetz
Today we live in a culture that views relationships through the lens of social media, texting and awkward grocery store interactions. As believers, they should be more than this. Looking at the life of Jesus as an example, two words come to mind that can help direct us: Intentional and Relational.
Jesus is Intentional
In the Bible, we see Jesus interact with a lot people in a lot of diﬀerent ways. Although, something that we see in arguably every one of those interactions is His intentionality with people. He never wasted time. He didn’t go through life hoping to happen upon people to teach, He sought people out.
“A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” John 4:7-10
In John 4, we see one of these times. On His way to Galilee, Jesus stopped at a well in Samaria and before long a woman comes to draw water from it. Jesus immediately turns the conversation to the gospel (v.10). He shares with her about the living eternal water that He oﬀers, rather than the temporarily satisfying water that she can oﬀer. He was intentional.
Jesus doesn’t simply wait for us to wander into His life, He inserts Himself into ours. He meets us in our daily routine and speaks to us where we are at! This is one of the most amazing things about the gospel— It applies to your life where you are at right now. Jesus is seeking you out and wants to meet you at your well. You don’t need to ﬁx up your life and go to a church to ﬁnd Jesus. He’s in your living room, at your place of work, at the gym. Jesus is there in your daily routine. If you had to perfect your life and go to Jesus, no one would have a chance. I certainly wouldn’t! He meets us in our imperfection and oﬀers His perfection.
As believers, we should have this same mentality! If you are anything like me, then you love when people are intentional and purposeful with you. I think we as humans need this. It feels good when someone shows up in your life and wants to join in! We can’t always expect people to walk up to us and ask us questions about God. We need to place ourselves into people’s lives and routine. We need to meet them where they are at and not wait for them to come to us. Just as Jesus came into our lives and met us, we need to put ourselves into others’ lives and take part in what they are doing.
Jesus is Relational
Jesus isn’t simply intentional in seeking us out and meeting us in our lives though. He goes on to invest in who we are and becomes a part of it. He is relational! The gospel is about so much more than words in a book and rules to follow, it’s a two-way relationship with the Creator. Our Savior desires to know every pain and sorrow we face. He rejoices with us and cares deeply about our hearts. This is exactly what happens with the woman at the well!
“Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had ﬁve husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” John 4:16-18
[Jesus said to her] “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” John 4:24-26
Jesus shows her how the gospel applies to her life and her need of it. He gets real with her and points to an area of her life that wasn’t perfect. But get this, we don’t see a ﬁre and brimstone judgement here. She isn’t left in her sin with no hope. Jesus doesn’t do that. What He does do is show our need for a savior and then becomes that savior for us! He points us to Himself. We see that done here through a relationship. By sitting together, sharing a vessel of water, connecting over the past and pointing to the future. Being real about failures and sharing wisdom and truth. In this short amount of time, Jesus did all of it. He spoke in a way that she personally connected with and that was relevant to her life. Doing so intrigued her and made her connect in a deeper way. She saw how the words of Jesus applied to her personally. He did not do so by condemning her or by expecting her to already be living a perfect life but instead He relationally pursued her heart.
I think one of the biggest harms we can do to the gospel is not make it personal to people’s lives. The gospel is relevant to every person’s life in every situation in life. There is nothing you could ever do that would discount you from message of the gospel. Jesus doesn’t want to just tell you how to ﬁx your life from a far, He wants to be a part of the process. We need to do more than just share the words with people, we need to invest. Take interest in who they are and what they are going through. Be a part of it. Be gracious enough to meet people right where they are at and relationally share the truths of the gospel with them.
I need for people to come in and remind me of the goodness of God and I’m personally way more receptive to someone who I know and trust! I think we are all like that. Yet, how often do we condemn people from afar, without giving them any hope? That’s not what Jesus does with us! He waits at the well. He asks questions. Let’s be more like Jesus and make the gospel relational! Show people how the gospel connects to their lives today.
After this interaction, this woman doesn’t just go home— she runs into town and proclaims the glory of God! She tells all that Jesus has done for her and many others come to salvation through her testimony. If you have had a life changing interaction with Jesus like this woman, then you should likewise have her urgency to proclaim all that God has done for you! Follow not only the example of Jesus but also of this woman and be present in people’s lives while sharing the good news of the gospel. That no matter what you’ve done, He is there waiting to spark up a conversation and relationship with you. Let’s intentionally pursue gracious relationships with people