“Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.” John 4:6
God was tired and weary? How? This verse clearly portrays the picture of the “The Word became flesh” by humanizing Jesus. We have read verses where Jesus wept, was hosted for dinner, was thirsty etc but this verse in, John 4:6, communicates a pitiable proof of his participation in our limitations, weaknesses and struggles of life.
“[Jesus] who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Phil 2:6-7.
Though he was still God, Jesus he did not come to live in the world as God. He lived as men did so it does not surprise anyone that on this occasion he was tired from his journey. But what exactly about this journey that made Him so tired?
Could this have been one of those days when his day started long before dawn to spend time with his Father in prayer such that by noon His body could not have it any more? Or could it have been one of those days when his interactions with human beings vexed him? Like when he whipped the money changers out of the temple. Or could it be that the day was just simply hot, dry and dusty?
Or was it the mental weariness due to the stresses and strains of thought and care associated with leadership and love for humanity?
Whatever the cause, Jesus sat at the well alone, weary and thirsty. He sat there as if he could not go any further or do any more. He wanted to rest and recuperate: to quench his thirst.
Does this sound familiar? Ever had a very long journey and you were weary and worn, footsore and could not make an extra step? Or is your daily work so hard that by the time the day is over and it’s your to rest, you can scarcely crawl up to your bed? Do you work in an environment where your contribution is rarely recognized or you are overworked or overused to the extent that by the time you get home you are dull, worn-out and weary and you don’t find life is worth living?
Or are you a housewife who spends all your days providing relentless domestic services to children – some of them with special needs, husband, parents and elderly people and your services remain unrecognized, unaccounted for and unappreciated by those who you serve? That difficult and tiresome job that has no off days, annual leave or monthly income and whose contribution in the economy is never recognized when calculating the nation’s GDP? Do you occasionally get to a point where you are so worn-out and want to give up due to the invisibility of your contribution to your families?
And for the fathers who make sacrifices which are unknown to their families? Do you try your best to provide for your families and you sometimes feel you can do no more yet you are unable to provide what you want your family to have? You have not succeeded and you are disappointed and heart-weary.
Does the idea of a lonely, tired Jesus ring a bell?
And how about those whose weariness come from suffering? Those who suffer from great physical pain, heartaches, social rejection, loss and so on. Those whose sleeping and waking up is all about pain and can hardly get time to rest due to the physical or psychological pain? Those who may be compelled to consider death preferable to life?
And the spiritual leaders who toil day and night to speak for Christ and try to bring sinners to Him and all they get is rejection and frustrations? Those spiritual leaders whose congregations are shrinking despite their best efforts. You are worn-out and disappointed as the congregation becomes hostile to the message. The missionaries who left the comfort of their homes and families and experience dust, heat or cold in faraway lands with ‘strange’ people and cultures and all they get for their efforts is rejection and persecution.
And the weary sinner who is always longing for rest?
We all, at one point or another in our lives, found ourselves seated in the well of Jacob just as Jesus was. The words “Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well” reminds us of a Jesus who bears exhaustion and deprivation of comfort for our sake. Him, who was the Prince of peace, the immortal one, not only heard or saw human suffering, but he personally experienced it.
We should go to him with confidence for He was tried in all points as we are and He will be able to rescue us and give us rest. He who sits in the right hand of God knows what is meant by all that heaviness and heat of the foot and the stretch of the muscles from long journeys and hard labour, that blistering of the soul due to hate and rejection and that pain and weariness from suffering. He understand it all for he experienced it firsthand. When we find ourselves in such circumstance, we should soldier on gallantly for we now that He sympathizes with us in every moment of distress.
The image of a tired Christ also communicates to us what we should be. If Jesus worked to the edge of His capacity and did not shy away from service due to the hard circumstances of life, we are also challenged to take up our crosses, to yield up one comfort, one moment of leisure for the Lord who bore it all for us. We are called to represent Christ by loving, sharing the Good News and showing compassion by our words and actions even when we feel tired and weary and the last thing we want is to around God’s beloved and hurting people.