Site icon Becca Harbert

Jesus stopped to rest


Jesus got tired. The God of the universe, having all power and authority, was worn out (Matthew 28:18-20)! Jesus was fully God and fully human.

“Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime” (John 4:6).


Look at the word, “tired,” briefly. It’s the same Greek word as used in Matthew 11:28 when Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (emphasis mine). It’s also the same word as used in Revelation 2:3 when Jesus spoke to one of the churches saying, “You have patiently suffered for Me without quitting” (emphasis mine). The actual definition does not speak of a physical exhaustion, as we think from John 4:6, as Jesus had finished a long walk. Instead it refers to an emotional exhaustion, a discouraged feeling. I believe the emotional exhaustion Jesus felt was largely a result of the physical exertion He had exerted.

I don’t know about you, but I often think of Jesus as robotic, machine like, moving through life miraculously slaving away at ministry with a happy heart and a smile on his face, never losing patience and never pooping, because, He was perfect! I mean, if He was perfect, did He really poop? Or did He eat the perfect amount so that His body never produced any waste? Ok, He was fully human. I’ll leave that for a doctor to answer. Back to topic! Yes, Jesus got tired! Discouraged even! Emotionally exhausted!

In Context

The verse about Jesus becoming exhausted occurred after Jesus had walked by Himself to Samaria. Most Jews went around Samaria because of the racial tensions between Samaritans and Jews. But Jesus, a Jew, went through Samaria, as I’m sure He felt led by the Father to do. He led the way, alone, with His [Jewish] disciples trailing behind. The Bible says the disciples went to get food, it does not explain why Jesus did not go with them or why He went on alone without any of them. Maybe He didn’t want His disciples talking Him out of it. Maybe He didn’t want their fears of Samaritans to cloud His ministry. Maybe He just wanted to get there and they were taking their time. Maybe He needed time with His Father to pray through how to love those crazy disciples. God knows. But He walked ahead, alone. And when Jesus made it to the well, He wasn’t just physically exhausted, but He was emotionally spent too! As we know, physical exertion can often weigh on our mental state, as I’m sure it did His. Walking quite a ways in the middle of the day is enough to discourage anyone, even Jesus.

Why do marathon runners like having people cheering them on? Because they get physically exhausted and mentally discouraged. Jesus had physically exerted a good amount of energy. But no one had been there to cheer Him on. It’s no wonder His disciples urged Him to eat when they caught up with Him (John 4:31).

Why does it matter?

So what? What does this mean for us today? Three things:
1. Jesus is relatable.
2. Jesus was used by God in His exhaustion.
3. Jesus was used by God in His need.

First of all, being fully human, Jesus can relate to your exhaustion, your weariness, your discouragement. Jesus knows your pain! Take a rest. It’s OK. Jesus sat down because He was exhausted and discouraged. You can too. It’s OK. Take a seat and see what He will do. His yoke is easy (Matthew 11:30).

Second, God used Jesus in His exhaustion. Jesus’ ministry didn’t stop when He stopped to rest. Let me say that again. Jesus didn’t stop saving people when He took time to slow down! One more time: Jesus’ ministry didn’t stop when He stopped to rest!

Jesus’ ministry didn’t stop when He stopped to rest.

Someone needs to hear that today. A Samaritan woman went to Jesus and through speaking with Him, she became a believer and an ambassador for Jesus. If God is calling you to slow down and rest, it doesn’t mean He’ll use you any less or save any fewer people. Through Jesus stopping to rest, He saved one person, the right person, who went on to save many, as a mighty disciple for Christ. What if Jesus kept going? What if He walked right past her? He could have said to Himself, “I’m the Son of God and today’s not my day to die, and it’s hot! So I’m going to keep going until I get to some shade. But He didn’t. He was tired, so He listened to His human body and rested.

Third, God used Jesus in His need. Jesus had thirst! He needed a drink! He was human, after all. So Jesus asked the Samaritan woman, who went to the well, for a drink. In His need, asking for a drink led to a ministry opportunity. Often, we think meeting our needs is our responsibility. Or we think sharing our needs with others is selfish. I’m preaching to myself here. But as Jenni Allen explains in her book FIND YOUR PEOPLE, sharing our needs with others can be one of the best things we can do to build a relationship with them. Obviously, this isn’t a blanket statement. It needs to be done in wisdom, while taking into account safe people, boundaries, appropriate levels of sharing etc. But God can use our neediness as a ministry opportunity. I recently heard of a lady, Kelly, who had to go to the hospital for some serious health issues. She prayed for ministry opportunities. She explained afterward how the whole time she stayed in the hospital, she was constantly being used of the Lord to share with others coming in her room about Jesus. In her need to be healed physically, God used her to heal others spiritually. God can use you in your need.

Therefore, if you’re feeling discouraged or physically exhausted, take heart. Jesus felt that way too. Resting will not stop God’s work in you. Do you have a need that the Lord is leading you to share with someone? Trust Him in taking that step of faith. Maybe your sharing will bring that person closer to the Lord. And remember, just as Jesus was fully human, you are too.

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