“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” John 4:29
Lord Jesus, the question raised by this newly found-and-loved Samaritan woman, is the perfect prelude for the now-upon-us Christmas season. You exposed the depth of her need, not to blame and shame her, but to love and redeem her (John 4:1–42). Next, she extended your welcome to others.
She expected judgment and condemnation, you gave her mercy and kindness. En route to your cross, resurrection, and filling the earth with your glory, you brought the reign of grace to the dark continent of her heart. Thank you for doing the same for us, Jesus.
You know every vain, foolish, grace-void thought we’ve ever conceived; every lustful, angry, greedy fantasy in which we’ll ever engage. You hear every grace-robbing, grandstanding, gossipy word we speak. You know the broken cisterns to which we run, and the heart-idols to which we cling. Yet you pursue, welcome, and love us. By the Gospel, you’ve forgiven us and robed us in your righteousness.
As we segue from Thanksgiving into Advent, we shout a robust, “Hallelujah!” and we cry out, “Have mercy, Lord.” We pray for loved ones and friends who seem allergic to your grace and strangers to your love—bound by cords of fear, anger, and only-you-know what. We also ask you to forgive our irritation and judgment, Jesus.
For we have indulged both this week—towards some of those for whom we now pray. Grant us the compassion, freedom, and patience you gave the Samaritan woman for her community. They caused her harm, but you intended their good. So very Amen we pray, in your mighty and merciful name.