Good Students

ask a lot of questions.

John 4:16–20

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”

The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”

Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”

The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”

Ya think? Understatement of the year—“I perceive that You are a prophet.

The light just came on. Up to this point, Jesus hasn’t made all that much sense. The woman is intrigued and isn’t put off by Jesus’s rather puzzling responses because He’s so friendly.

But at the word, “five” Jesus suddenly makes perfect sense—too much sense. There’s no way Jesus could know her whole backstory; no one knows that.

Jesus is kicking this encounter into high gear. He wants to engage her soul. She picks up on this immediately and says, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.

But it’s her next sentence that shows real wisdom. “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.

She knows where Jesus is going with this, and she’s interested.

Every interaction with God is a potential soul engagement. This seems obvious with prayer, but we often ignore that angle. We ask for help with something and then don’t notice that we’re being schooled.

Answers to prayer are often slower and more intricate than we’d like. But if we pick up on where God is going with His answer, we act like the students He wants us to be. Remember, disciple means student.

It’s perfectly reasonable to pray a prayer like, “Really?” or, “Is there a point to this?” Anything sincere that a curious student would ask a teacher is not only okay; it’s excellent. For example:

So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” …

Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” — John 20:25b, 27

Jesus doesn’t seem the least bit put off by Thomas’s need for proof. Thomas is making a sincere request. He isn’t pretending to be something he’s not. That’s good.

These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.