“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.” John 4:13
What are you watching on your screen of choice?
Let me make a random connection among three different things I’ve watched this week. The Michael Jordan documentary “The Last Dance,” the NFL Draft, and “The Chosen,” a crowd-funded series about the life Jesus.
What do all three have in common?
Saviors, drafts, and crowds.
Michael Jordan saved the Bulls. Joe Burrow, the first pick in the draft, hopes to save the Bengals. And then, of course, Jesus.
The Bulls drafted Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen and changed sports history. It’s the NFL draft. Jesus had his own draft, but he didn’t select anyone off of Mel Kiper’s “big board.” In other words, he went with the outcasts, not the blue chippers.
Crowds. Jordan filled the empty seats in a football and hockey town. The NFL draft is expected to double last year’s record of 47.3 million viewers. Jesus started small but turned the world upside down in a few years.
What’s the point?
It’s the way Jesus looks at the crowd.
Jordan had his fans, for sure. Nothing like seeing grown men from multiple continents beg for an autograph and fawn over the superstar. Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, has his “anti-fans” who love to hate him. The virtual draft even featured awkward virtual boos that tried to capture this sentiment in the midst of too many PSAs for social distancing to count.
The relationship between the fans and the stars in professional sports is always transactional. You win. We follow. You win. We pay. You win. We love you. You lose. We leave. You lose. We stop paying. You lose. We reject you. Of course, some fans are loyal and appear to love their teams unconditionally, but individual players always come and go with their performance.
It’s different with Jesus. He looked at the crowds with compassion. He sees the individual in the crowd.
The episode I watched from “The Chosen” focused on Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. She had three strikes against her. She was from Samaria. She was a woman. She had a bad reputation. In fact, her checkered past had made her such an outcast that she had to go to the well by herself in the heat of the day.
Yet Jesus chose her. He revealed himself to her. He met her need. He offered her “living water.”
You can picture the compassion in Jesus’ eyes in the gospel account. The screen version made the text come alive for me. He knew everything about her—all the dirt, all the pain. Yet he broke every convention of his tradition, sat down beside her, and brought life to her.
Here’s the simple takeaway. Jesus sees you in the crowd. He knows your past. He knows what you’re really thinking and feeling. And He invites you to trust him anyway.
And He doesn’t charge for admission. He’s already paid the price.
Have you experienced the compassion of Jesus? Or is He simply an abstract idea to you?
Jesus, help me to see your compassion and be more like you with my compassion.
Read John 4:1-42