4 Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 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.
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
Sometimes, being a follower of Christ means challenging your circumstances and culture. It means acting differently than those around you. Just as the person who stands up for someone being bullied, or someone who takes a stand against injustices, it takes courage. Jesus regularly challenged his own culture with his teaching and practices.
In this passage, it is significant that Jesus passes through Samaria. The Samaritans living in this region were those who had descended from Jews who had remained in Israel during the period of the exile and intermarried with the conquerors from Babylon. They were often called “half-breeds” because of their mix in heritage. There was deep hatred between the Jews and Samaritans that had existed for hundreds of years. (Note the well in this story was established by Jacob, one of the great patriarchs of Judaism, reminding us of the historic connection between these two groups.) Though the Jews and Samaritans had a shared history, discrimination and intolerance prevented them from appreciating it.
Jesus crossed all the boundaries to reach out to this woman, an adulterous, Samaritan, female. It would have been scandalous. Kind of like a devout Christian and devout Muslim becoming close friends today. Why do you think it is important to recognize boundaries Jesus crossed? Remember, Jesus came to save all. Everyone. Not just a select few. What boundaries do you need to cross?
Loving God, I know our world is not as it should be. Help me be an instrument of peace. Give me words to comfort and heal. Guide me to see through cultural barriers, hardened hearts, and destructive actions. Let me bring grace to those around me. Give me courage to see my neighbor as you see them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.