When you say John 4 your first thought probably goes the woman at the well. There is another story in that chapter that I find one of the most moving and faith-full moments in the Gospels. I don’t know that I need to get into the business of comparing people’s faith. That just doesn’t seem right. So maybe I need to be more careful with my comparisons here. Nonetheless, there is a moment in John 4 that penetrates straight into my heart as both a son to my dad and as a father of my two boys.
Here is the story as John tells it,
46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.
48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
50 “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”
The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”
53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.
54 This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.” – John 4:46-54
This father started with the idea that if his son was going to be healed, Jesus needed to be physically present with his boy. Turns out, Jesus can do more than we can conceive of and this man believed that to be the case without ever having seen or heard Jesus do something like this ever before. What is more, this father sets out to find Jesus without any guarantee that Jesus will be there when he gets to Cana, risking missing the last moments he might ever have with his son.
Faith is all over this story but it gets even better.
The verse that gets me though is verse 50 – “‘Go,’ Jesus replied, ‘your son will live.’ The man took Jesus at his word and departed…”
That wrenches my heart. It does that because it is a 20 mile walk from Capernaum to Cana. It would take this dad a day to get back, which means a day to see his healed son and Jesus’ promise fulfilled with his own eyes. What cuts this day’s journey short is that his servants are coming to find him with the news that his son has been healed at the exact moment Jesus pronounced it so.
We often live in the space between. This is the space between the promise of Jesus and the fulfillment of that promise. This “in between” space is the space of faith. It is where faith takes root and grows into a mustard plant. It grows into a harvest no one expected. It takes the space between for faith to walk and for walking to turn into faithing. Jesus wants us to walk by faith. That is what this dad did and I cannot even imagine all that went through his mind except one thing. He trusted Jesus and that was enough for him. Is it enough for me? Sometimes I wonder but I am working on it! The space between can be rough but it is necessary to be formed into the kind of people Jesus wants us to be.