Lately I have been journeying through the gospel of John. John is not the eye-witness investigative reporting of Luke or the stripped bare, just-the-facts version that is Mark or even the detailed, full of story that is Matthew. John is full of mystery and metaphor, poetry and powerful theology, incarnation explained, and I AM statements. It is an enneagram four’s dream!
Anyway, lately I have been journeying through the gospel of John. Let me clarify. It has not been a pleasure cruise despite its literary appeal. In fact, it might be more accurate to say that for the last few months I have been slogging my way through the gospel of John. I have been in the school of the Holy Spirit and the two by four being whacked over the head by truth and clinging to the promise of this self-same gospel ,“You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
A few weeks ago I was meditating on a couple of well-known chapters in which Jesus has encounters with individuals who are a bit slow on the uptake. The Lord reminded me of an incident early in my teaching career.
I was asked to help a teacher friend sort out an encounter between two first grade boys. Jimmy, an adorable round-faced boy who sounded like Eeyore, almost made me laugh out loud when he admitted his part in the scuffle. “I called him a butt brain.” Truth is the other adorable little rascal could be a bit of a butt brain sometimes. Can’t we all. So I am reading along in the gospel of John and the Lord reminds me of Jimmy and Timmy and then tells me that I am a BUT brain with one T. I am also probably a BUTT brain but that was not the point Holy Spirit was making on this particular day.
In John 5 Jesus meets a man by a pool and asks, “Do you really long to be healed?” (TPT) The man, replied, “BUT sir, there’s no way I can get healed…” In John 6 faced with a bunch of hungry people Jesus says to his disciples, “You give them something to eat.” They respond, “We have here 2 fish and 5 loaves BUT what is that among so many?” BUT heads.
The most powerful exchange for me is the one in John 4. You know the story. Jesus meets a Samaritan woman by the well. The Passion Translation says this: Jesus said, “If you only knew who I am and the gift God wants to give you-you’d ask me for a drink, and I would give you living water.” The woman replied, “BUT sir, you don’t even have a bucket and the well is very deep.”
Here is the truth of it saints. We become BUT heads because we focus on our own lack. We develop the “what is that among so many” poverty mentality of the disciples or otherwise proclaim” there’s no way” in any of a million different ways. Well, maybe you don’t but I do. The truth is we are often fragile and frightened in the place of prayer. For me, I think it’s partly because I have put my heart and my faith out there and have been disappointed, a lot. However, I think the bigger issue is the one Jesus points out to that very thirsty woman. “ If you really knew me and the gift God wants to give you” Jesus says, “you would ask.” Truth is we don’t really know how good He is! Please notice that the “Buts” in these stories do not keep Jesus from doing His thing, His unfailingly good and gracious thing.
I have been walking with the Lord for a long time and lately I feel like the call is to get to know Him all over again. I am making some big asks and so is He. I am grateful that He chooses to do great miracles for BUT heads like me . As we approach Advent, let’s fall in love with Him all over again.
I love the words of this old Michael Card song. It is the cry of my heart right now!