“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. The angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
‘Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’
“…The shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go to Bethlehem…’ They went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger… And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” Luke 2:8-16,20
“A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink… Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink,” you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water… Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I give will never be thirsty again. The water… will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water.’
“The woman left her water jar and went away into town.” John 4:7,10,13-15,28
Shepherds lived repeated routines with their flocks. Day in, day out, night shifts in, night shifts out, there was no time off from caring for the sheep whether under sun or stars. So when the angels broke into that splendid night watch, and they met the newborn Christ child, they had to return to the fields, only they’d been changed forever.
The outcast woman of Samaria drew daily water at the well in the noontime heat, and one particular eternity-written day, encountered Jesus. Love opened her eyes and grace her heart. She returned to regular life, to her town and people, yet living water new life had changed her forever. And her witness changed others too. (John 4:28-30,39)
Every encounter with our Savior should make us different. Through time in His word and prayer we gain glimpses of His compassion, mercy, power, ways of dealing with people, and kingdom strategy. While such experiences will not necessarily change the trajectory of our lives, they should be reordering and sanctifying our affections and mindset. We return to routine altered by His fresh mercies, glimmering glory, and challenges to our faith, having more to offer those with whom we work and relate.
When do we avail ourselves of significant time with the Lord, and what difference is it making? What do others recognize that distinguishes us as having been with Him? How are we influencing those around us? (Acts 4:13)
Father, purify and refine me through our communion, that You are glorified and others are blessed.