August 21, 2020
John 4:1-9 (NIV)
Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the townto buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
Now he had to go through Samaria.
Did he have to go through Samaria? Of course not. What Jew had to go through Samaria? Samaria was a defiled land. When Israel fell to the Assyrians, all of the inhabitants of the land were taken into exile. Years later, the Assyrians exported their own people back to Samaria. For Jews, Samaritans were the ultimate basket of deplorables. They worshipped all sorts of gods and did their best to make life miserable for the Jews. Suffice it to say, the term “good Samaritan” was the ultimate oxymoron (on par with Lady Mudwrestler).
So why did Jesus have to go through Samaria? Because that is what God does. In the eyes of God there are no deplorables, only wayward sons and daughters. I think Jesus had to go to Samaria because of a divine appointment with an outcast woman in an exiled land. The disciples peeled off for lunch leaving Jesus alone when along came his lunch appointment.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”
The stage is set: Jacob’s well, high noon, a Samaritan woman and the Son of God, and they are about to engage a conversation we are still talking about. Here’s Jesus in a place where no one could have predicted, with a person no one would have expected, and entering into a conversation no one could have ever imagined.
That’s what God is like. And I’m pretty sure it’s what he wants us to be like.
Abba Father, thank you for your Son, Jesus, who crushes our categories of who is in and who is out and where we should and should not be. Come, Holy Spirit, and so fill us with the love of God that such prejudgments can no longer remain in us. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
1. Where do you think the Samarias and the Samaritans are in today’s world?
2. Do we think that by connecting with and conversing with certain kinds of people that it will be read as our affirmation of them and their activities? So what if that happened?
3. Why do we disassociate with people we consider to be deplorable? What does this say about our understanding of God?
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