Have you ever been plagued over questions that you wished you had asked when you had the chance? Questions like: What do you mean? Why is that necessary? When is it finished? How …? Where …? Who …? Et cetera. You later realized that the answers could have prevented needless confusion. I’ve had many such questions — questions which never entered my mind until the next day, or even years later.
Undoubtedly, that happened to the disciple John, for we see two unasked questions in his account of Jesus’ encounter with a Samaritan woman at a well (John 4:1-42). Do you remember those questions? Or have you, like me, been brushing past them. John certainly didn’t! They were important enough to record. He wrote:
“Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, ‘What do you want?’ or ‘Why are you talking with her?'” (John 4:27 NIV)
Jesus supplied the answers anyway. Firstly, He wanted to do His Father’s will. Secondly, that was why He was speaking with her. Jesus was drawing her into the Father’s kingdom. The harvest that was ready was right at that well!
But the disciples hadn’t asked those two questions, and Jesus’ answers didn’t stick. Otherwise, the disciples would have thrown aside their lunch and jumped for joy, for this was a moment of celebration! It was the ancient promise being fulfilled before their very eyes! But they missed it!
That’s the tragedy of our unasked questions. Something gets missed. Unasked questions can have tragic results at every level of life. They keep people stuck; they prevent progress and growth; they result in fruitless effort, conflict, uninformed opinions, misjudgments, misdiagnoses, gullibility, brainwashing, and ultimately, the failure to discover God’s answer for sin: the Saviour.
Questions are vital. Even “dumb” questions are useful; they inspire more questions. The woman didn’t utter her best question right away, not until Jesus pressed her beyond the familiarities. He kept prodding her mind, stirring her curiosity till she was receptive to something brand new. He awakened her spiritual thirst. Finally, she raised her unasked question: “Could this be the Messiah?” (John 4:29) Then, in no time, she had her entire village hastening to the well — with the same burning question.
Isn’t this how the Spirit works? He uses everyday issues, circumstances — or anything, really — to raise those unasked questions, questions which awaken a thirst for brand new possibilities. It’s a vital process, for answers (or advice) tend not to stick well if they come before the questions are asked.
Do you feel that you shouldn’t have unasked questions about the Messiah, since you’re a seasoned Christian? Well, be sure, there’s always more to discover. Our unasked questions may have become tucked under a shield of familiarity, unbelief, spiritual dullness, or apathy. Thus, we’re often in need of fresh stirrings by the Spirit. Then, it’s hard to keep silent — as it was for the woman. Let’s ask those questions!
Prayer: O Lord, awaken our sense of wonder for brand new possibilities. Embolden us to raise questions that point us toward Your best blessings for us! Amen.
Copyright © 2021, by Diane Eaton <email@example.com>, first published on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional presbycan.ca .
Paisley, Ontario, CanadaA
Reprinted from PresbyCan with author’s permission