“I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” John 4:17-18
The story of the woman at the well speaking to Jesus is one of my favorites. It’s a highlight in the series, The Chosen. I cried as I watched the scene unfold. I realized I was so emotional for a number of reasons. First, that Jesus sought the woman out. That He waited for her in the heat of the day to speak to her. That He loved this one, insignificant woman so much that He wanted to heal her. But also, from the woman’s point of view, the pain she had, honestly, brought upon herself which then resulted in overwhelming shame. And lastly the joy in her voice of the gift of forgiveness and grace given freely by Jesus.
When you read the verse or watch the scene in the series there’s a quiet gentleness. Jesus probably didn’t have the thought in His mind, “I need to confront this woman with some hard truths!!” He spoke the truth but plainly, without condemnation. Most likely it pained Him to see one of God’s children suffering.
Today I praise God for His gentleness. There have been times when I got a good, swift kick from God. But on a daily basis, when I struggle to obey and trust Him I feel His gentle ways. I ask Him to put His hand on my shoulder and lead me. When hard times fall on us, God uses those times to love us even more, if that’s possible. He also uses those times to show us His Holy ways.
I was talking with a friend last week about a very difficult time in her life. After a devastating miscarriage she turned to her church family in desperate need. And she was rejected. So, she grabbed hold of God. About five years later she found herself face to face with a number of the women she had sought comfort from and had rejected her. She at first was distraught to see them. But her trust in God led her forward. What she found was God’s gentle way of completing her healing. One of the women herself had just recently gone through a miscarriage. And in that conversation wounds were healed.
My friend discovered the strength God gave her through her ordeal. A new strength she could show others. A perfect opportunity to now be His hands and feet and help heal broken hearts. She said to me, “God is so gentle. He guided me through the hard trial and brought me full circle.”
It’s a lesson for us all when we say we want to “be like Jesus.” When those around us are hurt, broken, angry, outraged, and more, we need to be gentle. There’s plenty of other people around us willing to pile on to our pain.
God knows just the right time to speak hard truths to us. But thankfully He seems to most frequently use His gentle touch.