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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Graber

I love Jesus and Teachable Moments

Recently, I have been watching "The Chosen." If you aren't familiar with the series, the adapted for television book series follows an interpretation of the works of Jesus. A word of warning here: the television show, while offering authentic stories from the gospel and historically accurate portrayals of culture, is dramatized and contains some fictional interpretations. Still, I've been following along in scripture as I watch the show with interest-partly because the interpretations fascinate me.

When I was taking literature courses for my Masters degree at Minnesota, State University, Mankato, one of my professors, Dr. Dyer, showed us interpretations of literature adapted for the screen. I was one of several who was quick to express the opinion that the movie is never as good as the book. In his wisdom, Dr. Dyer chuckled and explained that movies are other peoples' interpretations of literature. Then he asked how I learned about others' interpretations if I didn't bother to watch how people made the literature into movies. Since, I have altered my view to one of appreciation and observation. Similarly, The Chosen is someone else's dramatic interpretation of stories in the Bible. Even if some of the elements don't strictly adhere to the Bible, I can still learn something -- kind of like how God came down to earth and try to show the disciples how to understand his love. The disciples didn't always get it. Watching The Chosen helps me re-see the gospel scriptures in new ways.

For those who have been watching, I'm still on the first season. There are three seasons, but I'm taking my time. These shows hit me pretty emotionally. Today, I was watching the episode where Jesus approaches the woman at the well. I paused to note these epiphanies:

  1. Jesus never gave the woman a "but" or condemned her because of her sin.

  2. Jesus called out the woman's wrong, but focused on redirecting her (a teachable moment).

  3. Jesus was not passive; he asserted his purpose: to spread the news about the Messiah.

Now, I'm aware the show is dramatized, but even in scripture (John 4:1-26), Jesus isn't passively accepting the woman's behavior or justification; Jesus calls the woman out about being with a man she is not married to. Jesus uses the Samaritan woman's omission as a teachable moment. Then, Jesus tells her he is the Messiah. The woman couldn't stay silent; she had to tell others.

My dad and I were talking recently about the difference between just being mad and righteous anger--the kind that is "right with Jesus." Jesus really has something to teach us in these passages of scripture about, well many things but, mostly the importance of teaching others how to get "right" with God. Jesus loves us, yes, but Jesus' messages also teach us that Jesus steps in to right wrongs. Jesus didn't sit passively by and let the woman's statement about not having a husband slip idly by; Jesus stated things as they were (even the uncomfortable stuff), proclaiming "you have five husbands," and used that teachable moment to help the woman at the well onto the right path, the path to faith.

As a follower of Jesus, I know I have a responsibility to attempt to be like Jesus. God doesn't want me to focus on my failures but to relentlessly pursue His word and serve others like Jesus did. With all of the negativity in the world, doing the right thing isn't always easy--especially for people like the Samaritan woman who was condemned by the society she lived in and didn't see a way out of her sinful decisions. Yet, Jesus showed her his love. Jesus took the time to redirect the woman's steps. How often do I do that as a follower of Jesus?

Recently, I was in a conversation where one person said, "She couldn't do ____ right, but at least she got this right!" I thought to myself, why does it matter what she couldn't do? This sort of couched personal condemnation can be hurtful to hearers. Jesus didn't do that to the woman at the well. Jesus didn't completely ignore the woman's "five husbands" situation. Instead, Jesus tells the woman "I am he"--the Messiah promised by God.

When I am angry, I don't always check myself. Sometimes, I react--and not always in Jesus' righteousness. Yet, this example shows me the importance of honesty without condemnation. I love Jesus, and I love a good, teachable moment. Jesus models the behavior he expects of Christians. How often do people sit idly by as their friends do wrong? How often do people ignore the nudge of God in favor of silence over discomfort? For me, too often.

Lately, I've been saying a little prayer in the mornings:

Father, I am your child. When I am going the wrong way, redirect me. Search my heart and weed out the bad places. Mend me. Mold me. Shape me. Show me who I can help today. Your will be done, in Jesus name. Amen.

I hope today you can either benefit from a teachable moment or share a teachable moment with someone who needs Jesus in their life.

Wishing you many blessings on your day,


JOHN 4:4-24

Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman 4Now [Jesus] had to go through Samaria. 5So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. 7When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 9The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) 10Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 11“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” 13Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,14but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” 16He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 17“I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband.18The 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.” 19“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 “Woman, ”Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” 25The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

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