Two accounts in the Gospel of John of women running to share good news always bring tears to my eyes—and leave me breathless. The first is when Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman, and the second is when He reveals himself to Mary Magdalene on that first Easter morning.
You may know the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman—how He takes an undesirable route on a journey from Galilee in the north of Israel to Jerusalem in the south just to make sure He meets up with her. She is a woman scorned. Having survived five bad marriages, she is now living with a man she didn’t bother to marry. She goes to gather water at the well in the heat of the day in order to avoid giving the other women in the village another opportunity to gossip about her. Then she “just happens” to run into Jesus.
Reading the full account in John 4:7-29 changes lives today just as the encounter with Jesus changed hers that day so long ago. For Jesus doesn’t condemn her, He simply lets her know that He knows all about her, and cares about her anyway. He discusses theology with her, explains how He is the Source of living water, and then—to this most unlikely of confidantes—reveals that He is the Messiah. John 4:28 states what happens next: Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”
Ken Gire, in his wonderful book Intimate Moments with the Savior, describes the scene like this: “In that intimate moment of perception, she leaves to tell this good news to the city that has both shared her and shunned her. Behind, left in the sand, is her empty water jar. Stretching before her is a whole new life. And with her heart overflowing with living water she starts to run. Slowly at first. Then as fast as her new legs will take her. “
The second encounter that takes my breath away is found in John 20:10-18. Remember Mary Magdalene? She’s the woman Jesus saved from seven demons. A loyal follower, she stands by Mary, the mother of Jesus, throughout his crucifixion. In her complete devotion, she is last at the cross, first at the tomb. How horrified she is to find the stone rolled away, and the tomb empty! First she runs to tell the disciples what she discovered, then she runs back with them to the tomb. They leave, but she stays.
And we know what happens next. She, too, encounters a man. John 20:15-16 reads: “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabonni!” (which means Teacher).
Jesus tells Mary Magdalene to go and tell the others that He has risen, and will soon be returning to His father in heaven. John 20:18 tells us: Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!”
I can only imagine how tired she is after crying for two days, not sleeping, and running to the tomb not just once on that first Easter morning, but twice! Yet I’m sure that once she hears the greatest news of all, she doesn’t just saunter into town to tell the others. She runs—her sandals pounding the dirt path as she holds onto her head covering with one hand and wipes away tears with the other.
This Easter, may you also have an intimate encounter with Jesus. May you see Him for who He truly is—then run as fast as you can to tell someone the good news! Have a blessed, joyful Easter.
Suzanne Surber Underwood says
Nancy, thank you for mentioning the above book, I will put it on my Kindle. Studying the women of the Bible is so special to me and possibly these two along with Mary and Ruth are especially close to me…these women were compassionate, intelligent and so willing to love our Lord. I mentioned one time that I related personally to Mary because she wanted to hear what Jesus said personally and sat at his feet and my husband said, “no, you are a Ruth just like your mother and sister are!” So I suppose we just need to connect with them all and learn their knowledge. I cannot imagine what it was like to be a woman in Jesus day, I expect they were over worked and talk about being prepared, they would have starved with the entire family if they were not! Which reminds me of your words of advice…I must work on being prepared. Sorry that I combined your last two Blogs but I do enjoy reading your words. Thank you Nancy.
Thank you, Suzanne. It’s always good to hear from you and to see your posts on Facebook! Yes, I heartily recommend anything by Ken Gire. I was privileged to meet him at a writers’ conference and he was as genuine in person as he is in his writing. Happy Easter!
Jimmie Bohannon says
Beautiful, Nancy! Perfect for this wonderful Easter Day.
Love you, Jimmie
Thanks, Jimmie. Same to you.
Betty Van Liere says
Nancy, guess what our Easter sermon was about? “A Reason to Run.” The pastor told about the women at the tomb running to tell the disciples; about Peter and John running to the tomb; and about the father of the prodigal son running to meet the wayward youth. He ended his sermon with the thought that meant the most to him: God runs to meet us.
Also about Ken Gire. His presence at the upcoming Write His Answer is one big reason I am going again this year. I”ve tried to contact him off and on to see if he has any new books out, but i never managed to do so. I have ten of his super books and reread them now and then. (I guess that’s where we met–at Glen Eyrie. Right?)
For now, Love, Betty
My son Tim preached on “running” at his church in Marietta, GA today, too. Do you think the Lord is trying to tell us to get moving?! Have a great week, Betty. And I wish I could hear Ken Gire but I’m not going this year. Will miss you.
alice scott-ferguson says
wonderful pictures of women bearing the good news!
Thanks, Alice. And we still are, huh?
A wonderful new way for “women on the run” to share good news (instead of running errands and running in circles).
The pictures are perfect, too.
Thanks, Marylin. I had fun sourcing the photos. And yes, we do too much unproductive running around, don’t we? (Speaking for myself at least.)