Matthew 15:25-28 “Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”
In Bible times, the Samaritans were a mixed breed of Jew and Gentile. They did not have the lineage to be accepted in the Jewish community and lived lives separate from them. The Samaritans were shunned by most of the Jews and treated as lesser citizens. Jesus portrayed this in His interaction with this Samaritan woman who had come desiring for Jesus to heal her daughter.
She was determined to get help for her daughter. She asked, then pressed Jesus for Him to heal her. Jesus told her:
Matthew 15:24 “But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
She pressed Him further.
Matthew 15:25 “Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.”
Jesus’ response did not deter her in any way. She persisted and truly humbled herself in such a sacrificial way that it displayed something Jesus only spoke of twice in scripture.
The centurion in Matthew 8:
Matthew 8:10 “When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”
And this Samaritan woman in our text.
This pressing request is mentioned elsewhere in the gospels as an importunity.
Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines importunity this way:
“Pressing solicitation; urgent request; application for a claim or favor,which is urged with troublesome frequency or pertinacity. Men are sometimes overcome by the importunity of their wives or children.”
We see this word used in scripture.
Luke 11:8 “I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.”
It was used by Jesus to describe how we are to be in prayer.
As prayer is just a conversation between God and us, to be long in our prayers, or urgent in prayer takes some knowledge of the One with whom you are speaking. We can have hourlong conversations with those we know and with whom we are close.
It is the very reason many of us cannot pray for any length of time. It is because we do not know the One with whom we are conversing.
Many of us do not take the time to see if there are promises in the Word of God pertaining to that for which we ask. It may be that God has already promised something for which I plead.
A simple example is when we pray for our needs.
Philippians 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
God promised that He would supply ALL our needs, not just some. So, if there is seemingly a lack not supplied, I must rethink my request. Is it a ‘need,’ or is it something more in line with a want?
Job was stripped of wealth and health. Yet, he worshipped God in what looks to us as his poverty. He then instructs his wife when, in her grief, she lashes out at Job.
Job 1:20-22 “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”
Job 2:9-10 “Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”
I often think about what I would do if I were in Job’s shoes? What if I were to lose everything like Job? Would I be able to keep my integrity? Or would I be so oppressed that I would raise a fist and curse God and wish for death?
What was it that saw Job, the centurion, and the Samaritan woman through the greatest trial of their life?
Faith that grounded them and rooted them enough to reach out and be resolute in their requests to God.
Faith looks beyond the difficulties.
Faith sees God bigger than their problem.
Our faith is revealed by who it is we rely on a crisis. If our response is to go to a man for help, we will receive what man can do. But, if we go to God in faith, we will see what God can do – even with faith the size of a mustard seed.
Matthew 17:19-20 “Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
You see, when we serve the God of the impossible, we can see impossible things become possible.
Matthew 19:26 “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
When we pray believing that God can, we can see things happen that would not when attempted in our strength.
Mark 11:24 “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
Let us take our faith, our hope, and confidence in God and come boldly to the throne of grace It is there we obtain the mercy we need and will find the grace to help others in their time of need.
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”