Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” – Jn. 4:33 NIV
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Jesus Christ had arrived on a ground that Jacob gave to his son in a town called Sychar in Samaria and must have had to send his disciples to get food because, a woman who came to draw water from a nearby Well met him alone and they ended up having a conversation on the need for those who worship Jehovah to do so in spirit and truth rather than focus on location of worship. It was not that the location of worship was not important but it was more important to worship in Spirit and in truth. That was the only interaction they were supposed to have had and that was what was recorded – Jn. 4:1-26.
The narrative however changed when the disciples returned from their mission and seeing him alone and in conversation with the woman, expressed surprise, even though none of them asked him what his needs were nor did they ask what his conversation with the woman was all about – Jn. 4:27. The shared testimony of the woman that brought many people to Jesus Christ meant nothing to them either (Jn. 4:28-30), as it did not stop them from also suspecting that someone unknown to them must have brought food to him in their absence. This suspicion was simply because he declined their offer to eat, with the response that he had food that none of them knew anything about – Jn. 4:31-33.
Though they still did not seek clarification of their doubt, he went ahead to explain the food in reference. It was his desire to do the wish, and finish the work that he was sent by his father – Jn. 4:34.
Doubt is a major factor that has contributed to the destruction of many relationships. It is simply a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction about a situation or the personality of an individual. The presence of doubt immediately eliminates trust, which is a major foundation block required for building very strong relationships. It may be due to the instability of the character of any or all the persons involved in the situation or the unstable nature of the situation itself. Both ways, the act of doubt presents lack of confidence and loss of credibility. Those who want to relate with the one who is being doubted or the situation do not have full assurance that all that they see or hear can be believed.
Though as earlier said, the situation or the conduct of the personality may justify the doubt being expressed but sometimes, it may actually have to do with the character of the one who is doubting as there are indeed many people, who because of their circumstances of birth, development and several experiences over time, have grown to distrust everything including self.
Whatever may be the reason, nothing positive will ever result from a relationship that has doubt as a feature as valuable time and emotion will be wasted in second-guessing every obvious situation, especially those that require very prompt reaction. Even the Bible confirms that the one who operates in doubt will benefit nothing from a relationship with Jehovah – Jms. 1:8.
Doubt remains a veritable foundation for gossips and murmuring especially if the personality being doubted is one that is revered. All that Jesus Christ may have developed in his relationship with his disciples was almost going to be rubbished because of doubt. They had simply met him having a conversation with a woman, whom they possibly know to have been married several times and concluded that there must be something fishy going on beyond what they could see, even though they did not have any evidence of such and they were not willing to seek clarification. If they did and he told them what the conversation was all about, there is the chance that they were not going to believe anyway, as they seem to have formed an opinion of what the discussion between both of them were, after all, he would not have sent them all on a single mission, if he did not have an ulterior motive, they must have concluded. As far as they were concerned, it could just be that they caught him unguarded as he probably did not expect them to return at the time they did. They will further justify their suspicion when he refused to eat and they were aware that he was hungry, which was why he sent them away in the first place. How then could he refuse to eat, claiming that he had food to eat, if it wasn’t the case that an unknown personality, probably the same woman had secretly brought him food. They seem to have a water-tight argument to justify their position, but no matter how water-tight their arguments may seem to be, they were simply wrong. They could have saved themselves all that inefficient mental exercise by simply seeking clarification about their doubts and choosing to believe whatever he says.
In their situation, they were lucky that Jesus Christ decided to explain his statement at least with regards to the food he was referencing, but there was no assurance that his explanation was sufficient to eliminate their doubt about the content of his conversation with the woman, alone.
Though doubting seems to be a natural act of man, Christians must do all to combat such acts if they are to have good and rewarding relationships, either with Jehovah or with fellow men. Nothing should ever make man doubt anything from Jehovah, but because most directives of Jehovah is transferred through man who is definitely prone to being manipulated by several factors, there may be a reason to want to exercise caution in accepting all that is coming from man directly or coming from Jehovah through man. This is because the heart of man, according to the Christian Bible, is desperately wicked and deceitful ( Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9), but the solution will not be to act on unclarified doubt because in doing that, the necessary reaction to a situation will not be taken, and that may just be the reason why the expected result will be lost.
The proper approach to avoiding the damage that doubts can cause is to be bold enough to promptly seek clarification from the appropriate quarters in order to clear all doubts. It has to be the appropriate quarters because any other source of clarification will be deemed as murmuring or grumbling since the truth required to clear such doubts cannot be obtained from such sources.
Do not destroy that relationship or render it unrewarding by allowing doubt to take root. Always seek clarification from appropriate quarters to avoid breakdown and failures in relationships. There is simply no reason to be in any relationship where you are not free to seek clarification as it will ultimately be unrewarding, so not being able to ask for whatever reason may not be acceptable. Always seek clarification to avoid doubts and its fallouts. May God grant us all the boldness to seek clarification that will clear all doubts and thus make our relationships rewarding and long lasting in Jesus name. Amen.