“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” — Ernest Hemingway
Have you ever experienced someone actually listening to you, not just hearing you? We expect people to hear us when we speak, but it’s often jarring to find someone who listens completely. Rather than finishing your sentences, interrupting, or immediately responding, they leave space for pauses and consideration, reflection and honest questions, seeking to understand.
It’s a wonderful feeling. The very act of being listened to can reduce the stress and anxiety you’re feeling. It makes you feel valuable and loved.
Jesus understood this. He was known for listening and having honest conversations with people He shouldn’t associate with. The woman at the well in John 4 experienced this. Shunned by her community for her promiscuity, how long had it been since someone listened completely to her? Jesus listened.
After much listening, Jesus got to the heart of the matter. A longing inside the woman led to a tender message of hope and redemption:
The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” John 4:25-26 (ESV)
The woman craved connection with her creator, even if she couldn’t express it that way. Jesus listened to her completely, and when the right moment arrived, He spoke words of hope and grace to her. “I am the One you seek.”
Someone in your life needs a loving friend to listen completely to them. You probably already know who it is. Ask God for an opportunity to listen completely to them, and see what He does through that conversation.