So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
How Jesus Loved People:
Jesus took care of Himself.
What’s that? You’re asking, Jesus took care of Himself? So what? What does that have to do with loving people?
That’s a great question.
Here, in this passage of scripture, we see Jesus, the Son of God, the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, taking care of Himself. He’s just finished exercising if you will, as He walked to the town of Sychar. He’s about to take in fluids, as He asked for a drink of water. He’s mindful of His diet, as He sent His disciples to buy food. And He’s resting, seated by the well. (Colossians 1:15)
It is a rather curious thing, isn’t it?
How to Love Like Jesus:
Maybe you’re like me and you feel like taking care of yourself is selfish. If you are you might be interested in this story.
When I was in my 40s, I wasn’t living like Jesus. I wasn’t taking time to go for a walk through Samaria. I didn’t have time to walk or exercise. I wasn’t taking time to ask anyone to refresh me with water. I didn’t send anyone to buy food, I only had time for fast food, my diet was terrible. I wasn’t taking time to sit down by the well, I wasn’t resting.
I was a high energy guy who didn’t have time for such things. I was in constant motion. I took on extra responsibility at the fire department, I signed up as an elder at my church, I hosted a home church group, I taught a men’s bible study on leadership once a week, I built a house and contracted it myself, my wife and I started a vacation rental business, I went to school for my Bachelors in Fire Administration, I started writing a book.
I was charging hard. I figured, hey, diet, exercise, rest, I’ll take care of all that after I’m dead.
Well — that very nearly happened. One night after a Fire Administration class in Portland, I was crossing the street to go to the Lloyd’s Center Mall. Suddenly I found it hard to breathe. I honestly thought I walked into a hazardous materials cloud of some kind. The only problem with that theory was, nobody else around me was having a problem.
Next thing I know, ka-boom, I’m in the hospital for a double by-pass operation.
God decided to take me down a notch.
Turns out it was a very big notch. Gone was all that energy I had. Some days I felt completely exhausted by 10 in the morning. But do you think I changed my approach to life? Nope. I took a promotion at work. I continued to sign up for classes for my Bachelors degree. I bought another vacation rental. I continued my involvement at church. I finished my book.
Needless to say, things didn’t work out very well. Without any gas in the tank I had trouble just functioning, let alone performing at a high level. I fell into a depression, which of course made things even worse. I struggled in every area of my life: spiritual, work, family, all of it.
I wonder how things might have been different had I taken care of myself.
Jesus didn’t live like I did. Jesus, the Power of God and the radiance of God’s glory, walked. (1 Corinthians 1:24, Hebrews 1:3) He took fluids. He ate. He rested. Jesus made sure He was in good condition to love people.
It’s true, it is selfish to rest, relax, and maintain yourself — when resting, relaxing, and maintaining are your end goals.
But taking care of yourself so you can do more for the Lord, so you can love Him more, so you can love people more fully, so you can become a sharper instrument to be used, by Him, for His purposes…
THAT’S NOT SELFISH.
You and I might think we’ll bear more fruit for God by keeping our gas pedal to the floor, but that’s a trap. When I’m too busy, or too tired, or too sedentary, or burned out, I don’t do well loving people.
My guess is, you don’t either.
Take care of yourself, so you can love people better.