In John 4:1-42 we read the story of an encounter that Jesus had with a woman. On His way from Judea to Galilee, He chose to go through Samaria. Bible historians tell us that the relationship between the Jews and Samaritans was at best fraught, and at worst toxic. The Jews saw the Samaritans as a ‘mongrel’ race, and therefore, despised them. The Samaritans reciprocated in equal measure. It is said that if Jews had to travel to somewhere that lay beyond Samaria, they would take a roundabout route, simply to avoid coming into contact with the people they considered alien, foreign and in extremely cases sub-human.
Not Jesus. With evident deliberation, He chose to go through Samaritan territory. On His way He came to a well head. The well had been dug by the patriarch, Jacob, many centuries previously. When He arrived with His disciples after a tiring journey, He waited while they went off to buy some. In the meantime, a woman came along; one with a rather colourful past. I referred to her in one of my previous articles as a First Century Kim Kardashian.
The interesting thing is that Jesus engaged her in conversation in the first place. This was most unusual, unheard of. First, He was a Jew in a foreign territory. Secondly, she was a Samaritan woman coming to a high traffic area at an unusual time. To His request for water, the woman was rather brusque, even rude. However Jesus was not offended or put off. He was determined and committed to do her good, that she knew nothing about. Despite her offensive posture, marked by sarcasm, cynicism and mock irony, Jesus persisted with the dialogue.
Eventually Jesus got through to the women. The arrogant veneer and verbal posturing, driven no doubt by her need for self-protection, was sensitively pierced. Jesus had fingered the big issue in her life – her colourful or better put, ugly past. He did not do it judgementally or while standing on a moral pedestal. Her response was one of deep insight, acknowledging Him as the Messiah, the one who was to come.
Leaving her water pot, the woman ran back to her village, telling everyone, ‘Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could He be the messiah?’ The people came streaming out of every nook and cranny to see Jesus. The woman’s testimony about Jesus became the catalyst and springboard for many other people from the village to believe in Jesus.
This is a beautiful picture of the transformation of someone who had been touched by the loving hand and heart of love, of Jesus Christ; one who went from a position of alienation, doubt and open hostility, to a place of conviction, conversion and submission. Her life (and that of many villagers) had truly been transformed.
Perhaps you find yourself in a similar place to the Samaritan woman. Why don’t you allow the loving touch of Jesus to touch and reach you? When He touches you, your life will never be the same again.
Copyright Emmanuel Mbakwe 2013©
If you have read this article and you are not a Christian, I would like to invite you to receive Christ as Saviour and Lord in your life by praying this simple prayer:
‘God in heaven, I acknowledge that I am sinner and deserve to be punished for all the wrongs I have done. I am truly sorry. Thank you for sending your Son Jesus to this world. I believe He lived, died and rose again for my sins. I repent of all past sins and ask you to forgive me because Jesus. I confess and ask Jesus to come into my life and be my Saviour and Lord. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me to obey you and lead me to follow you all the days of my life. Thank you God for giving me eternal life through your Son Jesus. Amen!’