Even Friend of Samaritans!

Today's Bible reading: John 4:5-42

Not only was Jesus a friend of sinners from among the Jewish people – the “insiders” … but He was even a friend to the “outsiders” – as evidenced by His interactions with the Samaritans.  As a rule, the Jews absolutely hated the Samaritans … and the Samaritans were happy to return the favor!  Yet all the Gospels picture Jesus either speaking favorably about Samaritans or dealing directly with them.  Again, this flies in the face of Jewish attitude and practice, clearly expressed in John 4:9: “Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”  They were considered impure by race, by religion, and by morality.  No respectable Jewish man would talk to a woman alone in public – even a Jewish one.  Jesus not only does this … He even talks to a Samaritan woman alone in public!  No wonder the disciples think to themselves: “What does Jesus think He is doing talking to this woman.”

For Jesus, no people are unclean because of race.  In His eyes there is only one race: the sinful, human race.  His only concern is to remove the uncleanness that really counts … and deal with and cure the underlying problem - our underlying problem - head on.  We remember in the case of this Samaritan woman, Jesus exposes her sin, so that she perceives that He is at least a prophet.  But Jesus leads her even further.  He who offers living water - and promises a new worship which is located neither in Jerusalem nor Samaria - is none other than the Messiah.

Later, Jesus stays with the people in the Samaritan village.  These outcasts come to know that He is more than prophet and Messiah: He is the Savior of the world!

Prayer: Loving heavenly Father, our Good Shepherd, make us faithful, and bless our every effort to enlarge your flock.  We thank you for having made us your followers.  Help us to carry out Your mission as Your representatives, to be the ministers and missionaries You have called us to be; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.