Continuing in our look at John 4, let's take a look at verse 6. It reads, "So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour." Jesus was wiped from a day of traveling in the hot, Palestinian sun. It is around noon, the hottest part of the day, and Jesus does something remarkable for the GodMan: He takes a break. He stops to rest. This should be a message to us in and of itself. Jesus got tired and needed rest.
However, it should also be noted that Jesus was in this exhausted state when the woman came to Him. We don't see Jesus tell her to come back another time. He does not refer her to one of His disciples. He ministers to her. But, it's a simple kind of ministry. He sits and talks to her about her life. And this doesn't appear to drain Him. Why? I think Jesus explains in verse 34 when He says, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work."
How is it that Jesus was able to continue ministering in His weakness? I suggest that we can learn a few things. First, Jesus allowed ministry to feed Him. I think all too often we find ourselves dividing the ways we serve others and the ways we are served. I think we create too much distance between ourselves and the once we are ministering to, so that we can never be fed from the experience. Ministry should happen in authentic community that feeds us all well.
Second, Jesus understood that it was the Father's work, not His. I often feel the weight that a person's soul rests on my words or actions. Actually, everyone's souls are in God's hands. We are merely able to "participate in the gospel" (Philippians 1).
Ministry is not some job that we are tasked with that weighs us down and must be abandoned in our moments of weakness. It is also not only for "vocational ministers." It is a way of life for all believers in Biblical community that sustains us as we live in the will of the Father.
For His glory and our joy,