In these verses from the Parable of the Sower we see the Word of God being sown over rocky ground. The plants spring up, but because they have no adequate root system, they die off quickly. In the Amplified Version of the Bible it gives us insight into this shallow faith. It states in Mark 4:17, ” And they have no real root in themselves, and so they endure for a little while; then when trouble or persecution arises on account of the Word, they immediately are offended (become displeased, indignant, resentful) and they stumble and fall away.” So how can we pray for this person? They have to go deeper. In I Timothy 3:9 it talks about keeping ahold of the deep truths of the faith…the divine secrets, revealed truths, and revelations from God. To move from shallow faith to a vibrant and intimate relationship with the Lord, a person has to go deeper with God…allowing Him to speak to them through the Scriptures, revealing important truths to them. And with these new revelations, they are then able to send roots of trust down deep.
The persistent crowds followed Jesus wherever He went…pressing close and clamoring for attention. But in this Scripture we see a completely different picture of the Lord. He’s holding little ones on His lap…taking the time to hug and cuddle babies and toddlers…seemly unaware of the crowds around Him. Jesus was practicing the gift of unhurried joy. Of taking the time to show someone just how important they are with no regard to time, schedules, or deadlines. Our greatest gift to someone we love, is unhurried time with them…calm, peaceful, focused time – not glancing at our watches or phones, but rather at them. Who in your life today needs to receive the gift of your unhurried time?
We’ve all been very thirsty. An interesting note about the human body…hunger pangs will eventually subside, but thirst will never go away, for our bodies need water to operation and maintain homeostasis, (a stable and normal condition of all systems within the body.) In this Scripture, Jesus is offering the Samaritan woman the kind of water that will not only satisfy immediately, but will become an Artesian well within her. Like a spring rising up with a new and constant supply of fresh water, this living water fills and quenches our thirst unlike anything the world can offer.
Early in His Ministry, Jesus returned to His home town of Nazareth. There, He practiced the Ministry of Staying Put. Many of us rail at that Ministry, for we’d rather be used in the far-flung reaches of the world than to be utilized by God in the place we were born and raised. Just this past Sunday in Church I heard of an opportunity to go on a short-term mission to Guatemala to work in an orphanage of shunned and outcast children with handicaps and congenital defects…and my heart went out to them and their suffering. Does this mean I will go? That’s entirely up to the Lord, and I leave it in His hands. For my mission may be to remain where I am, touching the people around me… in the town where I was born and raised.
John the Baptist had been very plain to his followers that he was not the Messiah, but rather sent ahead to proclaim His coming. But his followers could only see Jesus as competition. As the Ministry of Jesus was just starting up…the Ministry of John the Baptist’s was winding down…and John was content with this, but not his followers. For jealousy had reared its ugly head as they watched their crowds dwindle, and the crowds around Jesus grow larger. I’ll be the first to admit there’s been times when I’ve seen the awesome move of God in a person and a twinge of jealousy will resonate deep inside. “Why can’t that be me, Lord?” I whine pathetically . John the Baptist knew the plan and purpose of his life so he didn’t have to view Jesus as a rival, but rather rejoiced with Him in God’s work being accomplished. The Lord’s work shouldn’t be a contest, where all of us are jockeying for attention and resentful when someone else is used by Him. Rather than being jealous, we should be rejoicing for each other.
The long-held Jewish Law was being turned upside down by Jesus in this scripture. He was in a way giving the crowd an Anatomy and Physiology lesson in explaining that nothing they could ingest would ever defile their hearts…their inner self. Rather, Jesus explained to them that it was what came out of a man…in word and deed…that degraded and profaned him.
Jews didn’t associate with Samaritans, and any self-respecting Jewish man surely wouldn’t make a point of traveling through Samaria…but Jesus did. He didn’t have to plan the trip that way…most would have gone around Samaria…but Jesus didn’t. You see, Jesus had a divine appointment arranged for a woman at Jacob’s well…a meeting that would not only change her, but many of her fellow towns-people. The Lord is ever reaching His saving hand into places we’d probably never go…into prisons, crack houses, seedy motels, or dark alleyways…places where the forgotten, shunned, and hopeless live. But no soul is beyond His reach…no life is beyond His grace and mercy.