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A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)
To compare the racial tension between black and white in America to the rancor between Jew and Samaritan in the days of Jesus would get you beat up. It doesn’t come close.
In the days of Jesus, if a dog came and ate off of your plate, you would wash it real good and then use it again on a normal day of the week (not the Sabbath). If a Samaritan came and ate off of your plate, you would wash it, smash it to pieces, grind up the bits, and wash them away in the river. The real holy rabbis would spit every time they said the word “Samaritan” to clean their mouth out from saying such a word. (Ie. ‘Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?!’)
But here is Jesus traveling through the middle of Samaria. He could have taken the three-day trip around, but instead, He marches right into the middle and stops. He and His entourage are known to be able to fast, but instead, they go looking for food.
Jesus is stalling.
As soon as Jesus asks this woman for some water, He has declared that He is different from every Jewish Rabbi she has been warned about. That’s why she asks “How is it?” because she is expecting hatred and curses from this teacher. Beyond being civil, Jesus is actually interacting and showing some level of dependence on her hospitality. It’s the middle of the day. It’s hot. Jesus probably won’t die out here, but He certainly won’t do well without water.
Being in need sets the stage for humility. One day 2 teenage boys were walking down my street. This happens all of the time and they don’t say a word to me. This particular day, though, I needed help. “Guys, are you strong?” I asked. You know the answer they gave, of course. I asked them to help me get my van bench seat out of the van and
If Jesus, King of the Universe, can humble Himself to get help from this woman, (You know people would have a lot of bad words to describe her!) then how much more can dirtbags like us humble ourselves to talk to other people not like us? There is no room for racism when we follow the Jesus that lollygagged in Samaria. Sure, it was even a shock to her, and it will be a shock to people expecting us to have racism, but it’s worth it.
Let’s humble ourselves and go out of our way to cross hostile and uncomfortable lines for the Gospel. Jesus is worth it!