Monday, March 25, 2013

We Need To Go To Samaria


We Need To Go To Samaria

 

He left Judea and departed again to Galilee.  But He needed to go through Samaria.” – John 4:3-4

Get out any map of the area in which Jesus ministered and you’ll soon see one thing perfectly clear about the disciples.  They were not lazy!  They walked everywhere they went, and many times that meant walking 50 miles or more to get from town to town.  But they followed Jesus, and if Jesus decided they should go to a rural town, they went.  If He decided they should go to the sea coast, they went.  If He decided they should go to Jerusalem, knowing He would be murdered there, they still went.  They didn’t send Jesus as a missionary for His ministry; they were followers, spiritually and physically. 

John 4 tells of one of those long trips on a dusty road.  They had left Jerusalem and were headed for Galilee.  The trip would have been about 68 miles in walking distance.  Along the way Jesus felt the need to turn into Samaria, which was off the road, between Jerusalem and Galilee.  Don’t miss this: “But He needed to go through Samaria”, as John 4:4 puts it.  He didn’t need to water his Camels – He had none.  He didn’t need to rent a jeep – they had none.  But the Holy Spirit drew Jesus off His preplanned course to Samaria. 

The disciples most likely weren’t too happy with this pit stop along the way to Galilee.  Samaritans were looked down upon by the Jews because they were a mixed race.  They were Jewish, but mixed with other nations.  I find it strange that discrimination against mixed races has remained for over 2,000 years and spread to our own nation, which is nothing more than a melting pot of all races.  To those that feel you can’t love a mixed child or person, or any person of another race, please show me your pedigree! 

As Jesus and his disciples come into Samaria, He stops at the well of Jacob.  He was tired from his walking, and sat there.  A young Samaritan woman came to the well and He asked her “Give Me a drink.”  She was shocked!  Jews didn’t talk to Samaritans!  They didn’t even acknowledge them!  When they went to the local Wal-Mart they never looked them in the eye.  They shuffled by them as quickly as they could!  They stayed with their ‘own kind’.  After all, Samaritans were less worthy of their attention, they felt in their self-pride.

She said to Jesus “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” Jesus never answered her question regarding the racial discrimination she had grown so accustomed to.  It wasn’t worthy of His time.  He was more concerned about her soul than her skin color.  He changed the subject, and talked to her about ‘living water’ (John 7:38), the salvation that comes from believing in Him.

This young woman’s need for salvation wasn’t the only reason Jesus needed to go to Samaria. Nor was it just because of the many others who believed in Jesus when she gave her testimony that “He told me all that I ever did.”  He went there for us, to show us that His love is for ALL people.  God could have placed another Jew there by the well, but that wouldn’t have served His purpose.  Red, yellow, black, and white – we are all precious in His sight.  Jesus NEEDED to go to Samaria to show us that His love is for all, as ours should be.  If you’re going to “love one another even as I have loved you” (John 15:12), you need to tear down the racial fences around your heart.

Racial borders are a strange thing.  They separate us into difference churches who believe the same thing less than a mile apart.  They limit our ministry and church outreach programs.  They prevent us from making friends with our own neighbors.  In 1 Corinthians 1:10 Paul spoke to the Corinthian church and pleaded that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” Following denominational divisions, racial divisions are the second sinful way we have divided the body of Christ. 

We all need to take a trip to Samaria.

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