Embrace the Detours
People aren’t in the way of better things; they are the better things.
We’ve all been there, trucking through life getting from point A to point B and then it happens – a detour. We’re diverted because our normal, fastest, most convenient route is shutdown. It’s irritating, inconvenient and we rarely if ever are able to see the beauty of detours. We’re too busy getting somewhere to be where we are.
In John 4, Jesus and his disciples decide to leave Judea and travel north to continue their ministry in Galilee. The fastest way to get to Galilee was through Samaria. It may not seem surprising to us then that they chose to take the fastest route, but it wasn’t the only option. Because of the animosity between Jews and Samarians, the Pharisees and other devout Jews would take a route that ran east of the Jordan river and avoid Samaria. Devout or not, when Jews chose to travel through Samaria, it was for one reason – to get from point A to point B fast. The last thing they would want would be to get delayed or get into theological conversations with Samaritans along the way. But as with so many other instances of Jesus’ ministry described in the Gospels, what should happen didn’t.
Instead of moving quickly through Samaria, Jesus ends up delaying the trip because he pays attention to someone that others would have seen as a distraction. Almost every part of Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman he meets at a well seems culturally out of place. Jews weren’t supposed to associate with Samaritans, public conversations between Rabbis and women were frowned upon, the woman drawing water at that time of day brings up questions about her character – nothing about this picture is right. So when Jesus’ disciples return to him, all they want to do is get going. For the disciples, the woman is a distraction – she’s in the way of the good ministry they could be doing somewhere else, but not for Jesus. Jesus didn’t see the woman as “in the way” of ministry that could be happening, she was the ministry that was happening.
As we’re moving through life, accomplishing goals or trying to keep up, we need to remember how Jesus saw people. He didn’t see people as in the way of better things; he saw people as the better things.
This week, embrace the “detour” people in your life. Act on the belief that they are the better things in your life instead of treating them like they’re in your way to better things.
- Each morning this week pray and ask God to open your eyes to the people right in front of you.
- Ask God for patience and wisdom so that you don’t miss opportunities with people that come along.
- Remember, if you find yourself in a situation where someone is irritating you because you have to get to something important, that you asked God for this opportunity. Acknowledge that he might be blessing you through this person or that you might be his blessing to them.