John Chapter 4
By Melody Keena
Jesus purposefully went through the despised part of the area, Samaria, as he returned home. Why did the Jews hate the Samaritans and not even want to touch anything they touched? When the Northern kingdom of Israel was taken into captivity hundreds of years earlier the area was repopulated with people from other cultures. The Jews that remained intermarried with them and so were no longer pure; considered perpetually unclean. If Jewish people wanted to go into the temple they had to be clean so touching anything unclean or something an unclean person had touched would prevent them from attending the worship service. Jesus ignored the prejudice of His day to minister to the people of Samaria.
The well where Jesus stopped was special, a gift from a father to his beloved son. It was also near where Joseph was buried. It was not the closest well to Sychar but Jesus knew someone special would visit there that day. The Samaritan woman had a very bad reputation in her community so to avoid meeting up with other women and suffering the shame of their unkind words she went to a further away well at a time no one would want to be there (the middle of the day). The women usually went to the well in the early morning and late afternoon when it was cooler. She probably saw Jesus sitting there but since he was a Jewish male she thought it was safe. Jews would not talk to Samaritans and men were not to talk to women in public or alone.
Jesus surprises her with His request and kind words. At first she does not understand He has a deeper meaning to what He is saying and thinks He is only seeking and offering physical water. Then Jesus shares that He knows all about her and still cares about her. She tries to change the subject to a topic that the Jews and Samaritans argued about to get the focus off her. Jesus takes the opportunity to share about His Father and the door opens for Him to share that He is the Messiah. Just then the disciples rudely interrupt Jesus' ministry and the woman sees her opportunity to run and share the good news, so she drops everything and leaves. When we minister, we too must leave our past with all its shame and regrets and previous friends (sometimes family) to go and share the good news. Jesus made this stop two days long so as many Samaritans as possible could hear and believe. Jesus saw the harvest of souls was ripe and the disciples were blind to it. Pray the Lord of the harvest will open our eyes to see where He needs us to go to reap. It likely is somewhere you least expect and may require you to stand against the prejudices of our day.