Discovery Process with POP
POPs Want to Be Found
John 4 records an encounter Jesus had one day with a woman from Samaria. She had serious problems. She had married and divorced 5 times, and was then living with a man who wasn’t her husband. That’s a lot of marriages, especially in the first century! Also, since we know that women in first century Palestine didn’t have the right to leave their husbands, we know that this woman had been left, discarded, by five different men, and her current man didn’t even bother to go through the ceremony. What pain she must have harbored in her heart!
When Jesus met this woman he had a need (he was thirsty) and He allowed her to meet that need (she gave Him a drink). They had a conversation. Then at the end of their discussion, the woman ran back into her village (where everyone knew she had problems) and told people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”
One thing I love about this story is how little the Samaritan woman actually understood. During the conversation, she’d been confused by Jesus’ double meanings for different words and ideas. Later, when they finished talking, her testimony was: “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.” To me, that is the most interesting line in the story. The woman didn’t say, “Come, see the man who claims to be God,” or, “Come, see the man who did this amazing miracle,” or even, “Come, see the best teacher I’ve ever heard.” She doesn’t mention any of these things. We don’t know if she even knew at that point that Jesus could do miracles. What she did know was this: Jesus knew her, inside and out. So she ran back to her village and proclaimed that to anyone who would listen.
God Prepares the Hearts
I feel I have witnessed another such testimony today. This morning, I was over at our former landlord’s house. Each Monday, I go meet with Vio, our former landlord’s wife, to discuss a Truth Story. Today, for the first time, one of her neighbors, Bhartia, joined us. As soon as Bhartia sat down, I got a little nervous. Would she understand my accented Hindi? Did she even want to be there, or was she joining us simply to be polite to Vio? Would she argue, or would she discuss? (There is a difference!) Vio and I have a routine. We start our time with chai and chit-chat. Then, I pass her the story to read. I could read the story in Hindi. In fact, I love to read Hindi aloud, but Vio likes to read aloud even more than I do, and since her accent is better (smile), I pass her the story. Today was no exception, and as soon as Vio finished reading Bhartia began to talk. It seemed she had no desire to discuss a story at all. She just wanted to talk about how hard her life is.
I didn’t know what to do. What should I say? Should I correct her? After all, we weren’t meeting together in order to hear her whine. How could I steer the conversation back to the creation account?
Then suddenly Vio began to speak. I didn’t need to say a word. Now Vio is no Bible scholar. To date, Vio has heard a total of three DBS stories. Only three. Yet she began sharing with Bhartia all she has learned from applying those three stories to her life. She shared about how much peace she feels in her heart now that she, like Mary (Martha’s sister), is choosing to sit at God’s feet each day and be with Him.
There is so much Vio doesn’t know, but a beautiful thing about our meeting was that what Vio doesn’t know didn’t matter. Like the Samaritan woman, she simply shared what she did know. One woman said, “Come, see the man who told me everything I ever did!” For Bhartia, it was, “You’ve got to believe me: even spending two minutes at God’s feet has changed me.”
Being a Catalyst
And I? I just needed to sit and watch, listen and pray. It was beautiful and humbling and inspiring. Vio simply read the story from the Old Testament, helped us retell it in our own words, walked through the discovery questions, and shared her experience. It was all she knew. It was more than enough. Bhartia left saying that she wants to return next week because she wants to once again feel the peace that she felt during our time together. One of Vio’s application steps is to share this same story with her own oikos (household), as well as with others who could do the same with their respective households, like Bhartia. What will I do? Hopefully, as I continue to coach Vio, I will give her the story to read even sooner than I did today!