Once, when Jesus traveled from Judea to Galilee, the apostle John records that “he had to go through Samaria” (John 4:4). The fact is, Jesus didn’t have to go through Samaria to get to Galilee, geographically speaking. In fact, because Jews hated Samaritans, Jews regularly took the long way around in order to avoid that region. But Jesus felt compelled to go through Samaria because that’s where the Spirit now led Him—He had to go through Samaria not as a matter of geography, but as a matter of mission, out of obedience to the Spirit’s guidance.
When Jesus reached Samaria He sent His disciples on ahead of Him and He sat down beside Jacob’s well. There He waited for His divine encounter with the Samaritan woman, where He supernaturally discerned everything about her. Their conversation changed her life forever, and she became the world’s first evangelist, witnessing about Jesus to the people of her city. Jesus stayed with these Samaritans for two more days and was able to bring many others to salvation before moving on. This encounter would never have happened if Jesus hadn’t been following the Spirit’s leading.
Later, in Galilee, as the time for the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem drew near, the brothers of Jesus urged Him to travel there “so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world” (John 7:3-4).
But Jesus was on a different schedule. He answered them, “You go to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, because for me the right time has not yet come.” (John 7:8).
Once again Jesus was waiting for clearance from the Holy Spirit to move. He was waiting for the right time to make an entrance at the feast and to reveal His wisdom and teaching to the people in Jerusalem. He knew, in fact, that He was the true feast — the Messiah they’d been waiting for. He Himself was the reason for their celebration, though they did not realize it.
Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run.