26 An angel from the Lord spoke to Philip, “At noon, take the road that leads from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.) 27 So he did. Meanwhile, an Ethiopian man was on his way home from Jerusalem, where he had come to worship. He was a eunuch and an official responsible for the entire treasury of Candace. (Candace is the title given to the Ethiopian queen.) 28 He was reading the prophet Isaiah while sitting in his carriage.
29 The Spirit told Philip, “Approach this carriage and stay with it.”
30 Running up to the carriage, Philip heard the man reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you really understand what you are reading?”
31 The man replied, “Without someone to guide me, how could I?” Then he invited Philip to climb up and sit with him. 32 This was the passage of scripture he was reading:
Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent
so he didn’t open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation justice was taken away from him.
Who can tell the story of his descendants
because his life was taken from the earth?
34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, about whom does the prophet say this? Is he talking about himself or someone else?” 35 Starting with that passage, Philip proclaimed the good news about Jesus to him. 36 As they went down the road, they came to some water.
The eunuch said, “Look! Water! What would keep me from being baptized?” 38 He ordered that the carriage halt. Both Philip and the eunuch went down to the water, where Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Lord’s Spirit suddenly took Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing.
Philip feels the Spirit drawing him towards a traveling eunuch who wanted to know the meaning of God’s Word. Although this traveler was not Jewish, or even a Gentile from the area, likely this eunuch had heard something about Jesus while in Jerusalem. Of course, the eunuch happened to be reading from Isaiah 53, which prophetically pointed to Jesus’ innocence, and his earthly sacrifice. Likely, Philip and the eunuch found much more than fellowship through their meeting and the interpretation of God’s Word.
It appears as a moment of pure grace for the eunuch and Philip. Led by the Spirit, Philip reacted by following that chariot. Led by the Spirit, the eunuch happened to be there reading and reciting these particular words of Isaiah, pointing toward the life of Jesus. This is early evidence of a growing Christian community, one which welcomes a stranger, builds community, studies the Word and comes to life because people responded through the Spirit.
Did you notice that this mystery includes much more than just Philip and the eunuch?
Remember that Jesus also said, “whenever two or more of you are gathered in my name, there I am also” (Matthew 18:20). How wonderful that Jesus connects us to one another and to himself, whenever we respond to God’s calling on our lives! How wonderful it is to know that even in what seems like the simplest of actions, God is miraculously drawing us closer to Godself and to one another! How marvelous it is to know that Jesus lets us witness these moments of living water in and throughout our lives!
by Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
How can we respond with the simplest actions which follow the Spirit? Although it can be, following God’s path isn’t always about making major changes in our lives. Sometimes it is about listening to the Spirit that has us simply turning down another street, phoning a friend or someone new, or reading a scripture aloud. How might you listen to the Spirit in a simple way this week?
Prayer: Gracious God, Let your living water flow through me, so that I might hear and respond to your smallest of directions. Let me step out in faith — all for your glory. Amen!