One Encounter Can Change Everything
By Rachael Adams
“Now He had to go through Samaria….Jesus, tired as He was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon” (John 4:4-6).
My first job out of college was as a community liaison for the government. I was responsible for a large region, and I had a long list of contacts in various communities across the eastern part of the state. With so much to learn, I was assigned a veteran liaison to train me for the first several months. Each day Emily and I spent significant time together in our rental car, traveling from city to city.
Though I didn’t realize it initially, I was receiving much more than training for my new job. I looked up to Emily professionally, but before long, I also began to look up to her spiritually. She became the mentor I didn’t know I needed. I had a daily passenger-seat view into the way she lived out her faith—her countenance, choices, and character consistently aligned with the Word. I quietly observed her listening to Christian music, bringing Scripture into conversation, sharing godly wisdom, praying before meals, working hard, and loving people. While I had a salvation moment as a preteen, Emily opened my eyes to what having an active relationship with God actually meant. She helped me to realize I could encounter him personally each day, not just in eternity.
Eventually, the time came when I had to start traveling without Emily, but I now had the assurance of a new companion. God took the driver's seat, and I joyfully remained in the passenger seat. Slowly, the behavior Emily had modeled became my behavior. Over time, I too found myself listening to Christian music, bringing Scripture into conversation, sharing godly wisdom, praying before meals, working hard, and loving people. I’m so grateful for this encounter with her during that season of my life. Though Emily likely didn’t realize the positive impact she had on me when our lives intersected, God certainly knew what he was doing when he placed us together for those few months. He knew how much I needed her example.
As I reflect on this experience, I’m struck by the fact that, because my encounter with Emily changed me, all the people I’ve encountered since that training nearly two decades ago have also been impacted. Many people have been touched because she was an ambassador of Jesus’ love—and an encounter with Jesus changes everything.
This was certainly the case for the woman at the well. This woman is never named, yet her encounter with the Son of God is the longest exchange Jesus had with an individual in the Gospel of John (4:1-42). The story begins with Jesus traveling through Samaria on the way to Galilee. Tired from his journey, he sat down at a well in the town of Sychar. Most Jews avoided this city, but Jesus purposefully traveled there to encounter this woman who represented the lowest of the low—a female in a society where women were both demeaned and disregarded, a member of a race traditionally despised by the Jews, and a social outcast living in shame because of her lifestyle.
This woman came to draw water during the heat of the day, likely because she was trying to avoid encounters with other people due to her situation. How divine that she had a holy encounter with Christ instead. It’s no coincidence Jesus was there at the exact place and exact time.
During their interaction, he asked her for a drink, and, by the end of the conversation, Jesus had given her living water. The Samaritan woman gave him well water, but she gained so much more. Though she didn’t initially understand the magnitude of this little encounter, she experienced the eternal effects. Jesus did more than satisfy her physical thirst, he satisfied the spiritual thirst she didn’t even realize she had. After this single encounter with Jesus, she led many more Samaritans from that town to encounter him and believe.
It is astounding to consider how many encounters we have on any given day. It is even more astounding to think about the potential significance each of those encounters can have. Whether these occurrences are scheduled or by surprise, frequent or rare, ongoing or once in a lifetime—God uses them all. What if we viewed every encounter as a divine appointment from him with the purpose of leading one another closer to him? Could your next encounter change the trajectory of your life, the other person’s life, or both? May every encounter with you be an encounter with him. How exciting to someday see where those encounters will lead no matter how insignificant they may seem at the time.
Intersecting Faith and Life:
View the next encounter you have with a person as one that has the potential to change everything! Consider how an encounter with you could lead to the other person having an encounter with Christ.
Lord, thank you for the people you have placed in my life. I choose to believe every encounter is ordained and designed by you. Help me to realize that because I have encountered you, everyone I meet is an opportunity to share your love and Good News. Use me in every interaction to allow others to experience you through me. Amen.
Photo credit: Ingrid Hall/Unsplash.com
Rachael Adams is the author of A Little Goes a Long Way: 52 Days to a Significant Life and the host of The Love Offering Podcast. She and her husband, Bryan, run a family business and farm in Kentucky with their two children, Will and Kate, and two doodle dogs. Connect with her by visiting rachaelkadams.com, by searching @rachaeladamsauthor on social media, and by tuning in to The Love Offering podcast every Tuesday on your favorite listening platform.
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