Getting it Wrong

I really dislike getting things wrong. I was flying on the smallest plane I had ever flown on last week, which meant no WI-FI, movie, or phone charger. Flashback to the early 2000s when our phones were not our everyday escape and solution to boredom. How did we ever survive!?

I dug deep into my carry-on for some form of entertainment and found a cool gift a friend of mine gave me—a small written collection of the Gospels. The book is by a faith-based nonprofit organization called, Plus Nothing, whose entire goal is to get the teachings of Jesus into as many hands as possible.

The book creates a cohesive timeline of Jesus’ ministry, and by the end of my short flight, I had made it to where Jesus was meeting with the woman at the well (John 4). This unlikely story is my favorite for many reasons, and I have read it often. However, reading it this time, I noticed this book left out the part where Jesus tells the woman to “Go and sin no more.” 

Confused, I wondered why they would leave the rebuke part out. 

While our plane taxied to the gate, I reread John 4, and sure enough, that phrase wasn’t there in the first place. It was me who had gotten it wrong all these years. Jesus does tell others to “Go and sin no more” in two other situations in John 5 and 8. But he didn’t say it to the woman at the well, and I don’t know why I always added it to this story in my head. But, at that moment, it magnified something to me.  

Jesus never once spoke any correction over that woman. None. He tells her what she has done and is doing, but never a harsh word, rebuke or condemnation. Instead, Jesus tells this woman that he knows her. Jesus understood that this woman knew what she was doing was wrong, but even more so, he understood her need to be known. 

Pastor Chris Hodges said, “God has placed in us all a deep need to be needed and to be known.” Jesus says to her I know who you are, I know where you have been, I know who you will be, and I need (and want!) you for my purpose. Jesus tells the woman, “A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:23

Jesus had the opportunity to disqualify and rebuke this woman. She was an outcast and a sinner. However, he calls her into purpose. There is such great wisdom in this. I love the expanded version of this story in The Chosen. Jesus knew her heart, so her sin and circumstances didn’t phase him. People getting things wrong has never stopped Jesus from spreading his perfect message through imperfect people. 

So, I guess I’m ok that I got it wrong this week so we could spend some time together today. Have a great week!

In His service and at yours!


Published by Shawn McCarthy

While serving as the Weekend Experience Pastor at Seacoast Church, I felt God prompting me to share the moments when He would speak His truth into my life through scripture in a way that made sense to me, giving me tangible ways to learn, grow and lead. These promptings turned into weekly emails that I would send my small groups and volunteer teams. I found myself enjoying the process of digging deeper into God’s Word, being stretched by the writing process, and encouraging others in the faith. My lovely wife, Anna, challenged me to begin this blog, so these moments that I have come to call, my “Red-Letter Moments,” can find a home. My prayer is that you will find hope, comfort, and inspiration here, and above all, you will come to know that the God of the universe loves you and desires a personal relationship with you.”

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