I love to plan. I’m not necessarily a planner, but when it comes to events, trips and parties, I put my planning hat on and dive right in. Being highly relational, I thrive on connection with others and watching others connect with one another. Our apartment has seen many gatherings over the last 18 months. Each step is fun for me – creating the Facebook event (sometimes I get out of control and come up with marketing plans), selecting food to cook, making drinks, decorating the apartment, and even cleaning up. It is a privilege to host and plan, and it brings me joy.
I’m spending the Lenten season reading through the Gospel of John. Relationship and gathering people is central in this Gospel. Four chapters in, and I’m starting to wonder if it can be summed up with the following statement – “Come and see.” The disciples started to realize early on that they could not change people hearts, only Jesus could do that, therefore, they needed to connect Jesus with the people. “Come and see,” was the invitation.
More than an invitation, it was a promise. Come, see and be changed. You wouldn’t leave the same as you came. One encounter with Jesus is all that it would take to see their lives radically changed.
The woman at the well is one of the Bible stories. I come back to time and time again, reminded that Jesus refused to let cultural boundaries and norms define the people who He would interact with. Here’s a woman outcast by society – unmarried, promiscuous, Samaritan – and yet once she meets Jesus, she tells the very people she was avoiding, “Come and see Him; meet Him for yourselves.” And lives are saved because the people meet Jesus and place their faith in Him.
I am the woman at the well. Afraid of what others think of me, the life I’ve chosen for myself, the mistakes of my past, and my current sin, I avoid those who need Jesus. I do not extend the invitation. Or instead, I am like those who avoided the woman at the well, watching from a distance and casting judgment upon someone who is different from me.
I get caught up in the details, in making it about me, but when it’s an invitation and not an agenda item, God gets the glory and lives are changed. Isn’t that evangelism? Being the connecting piece between Jesus and people who do not know Him? “Come and see Jesus” is the invitation to the eternal party, the one that will last forever in Heaven.