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Monday, September 26, 2011

Tripled Surprises

I'm back from the ACFW conference in St. Louis (always an exciting time), ready to continue blog posts from the book of John. As I fell asleep last night, I remembered that John 4 is the next chapter, and my thoughts went to the Samaritan woman at the well.

However despised she may have been in her own culture, it seems she is one of the most beloved characters to Christians. Perhaps we identify with her because we feel shamed by our sin, we feel out of place in the circles where we function, or we long to engage Jesus the way she did.

I woke up this morning with new insight into the story, thinking I knew exactly what I wanted to share from this passage about God meeting us and using us. But when I sat down to actually read John 4, the chapter overwhelmed me with its surprises—far too many for one post.

He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But He needed to go through Samaria.
~ John 4:3-4 (NKJV)

Like Jesus' side trip into Samaria, I readily decided to detour and simply post a list of those surprises. I was surprised again when the list filled an entire page—too many to even list!

As I counted the items, my mathematical mind wondered if it might perchance arrive at some even number like 20 or 24 (two dozen) or 25. I was a tiny bit disappointed by the random number 27.

But only for a moment. When I speak or teach, I try to always outline in threes, to keep things simple and memorable. No one but you math geeks is likely to appreciate my third surprise in the realization

Some of the surprises in John chapter 4 might be seen as only surprises for the incident's context, while being familiar to us: Jesus visiting Samaria and speaking to a woman; Jesus knowing the woman's past; Jesus' revelations to her. But God's Word is alive, and God Himself is the Master of Surprise. I trust that He has fresh insights and surprises—beyond what I even see in this moment—for the posts to be shared here.

Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He."
~ John 4:26 (NKJV)

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Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


  1. I do so love that story, Anne...I find it particularly poignant whenever Jesus addressed women, as He often did. I love your new discoveries. I am reading Acts again for...oh, at least the sixth time since I was born again. And yet I continually am amazed by "how did I miss this?"

    Hoping you had many God appointments at ACFW, and you return refreshed anew!

    God bless.

  2. Ah, Gwen. The tenderness of Jesus for women, children, and those handicapped in body or soul is love personified.

    Yes, I am continually amazed that God's Word contains surprises, no matter how many times it is read.

    And ACFW once again made me feel like an imposter upon arrival, and like a beloved author of unlimited promise upon departure.


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