"But he [Jesus] needed to go through Samaria" (John 4:4, NKJV).
It's easy to read John 4:4 above and think nothing of it. Jesus was on His way from Judea to Galilee, and so He naturally had to travel through Samaria to get there.
Or did He?
Geographically, Jesus could have taken at least two other routes, ways that would have allowed Him to avoid Samaria altogether, as most Jews did during that time. But Jesus not only chose the Samaritan route, the Scriptures suggest He was compelled to do so. He needed to. Based on the fact that He could have taken other routes, we can only surmise that Jesus felt compelled to go that way because it was the will of His Father. Elsewhere He said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but [only] what He sees the Father do" (John 5:19). Anointed by the Holy Spirit and with power (Acts 10:38), Jesus went where He went and did what He did because He did "always those things which please the Father" (John 8:29).
For Jesus, the shortest distance between two points was the will of God. The same can be true for us. We take the "long way around" to arrive at our destination in life when we fail to follow His lead, to be mindful of His will, or to obey His command. Our heavenly Father really does know best. And just like Jesus, who was weary with His journey, but found strength in doing the will of God in that moment (John 4:34), we can be energized both physically and spiritually through our submission to God's wisdom and will. We simply need to trust His heart.
Next time you feel tempted to take the easy route, slow down and ask God to show you His way. He may just have a divine appointment for you, so that He may reveal His power, strength, and salvation to the most unlikely of people around you. You'll be glad you did, and He will provide "meat to eat" that the world knows not of.
Scripture for reflection and prayer:
"Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name" (Psalm 86:11, NIV).