Good Friday, everyone! Due to some issues with recording the video this week, today’s Good Friday post is going to be written. To be honest, I was actually considering switching it over to written content already. So, let me know if you prefer Good Friday posts to be videoed or written.
In last week’s Good Friday, we began a multi-week study on John 4. Here is the link to that video: John 4 pt. 1. We discussed that the Jews and Samaritans hated each other. In fact, a “good” Jew would avoid even stepping into Samaria because they believed that it would make them “unclean” to God. They would actually add an extra day to their journey just to avoid those people. However, we see Jesus breaking the social norms and entering into Samaria. He didn’t care about societal and cultural norms because he cares about all people. Today, we’re going to see what his purpose was for going there; or, rather, who his purpose was.
We pick up in verses 5 and 6, “So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.”
We can all imagine how Jesus felt. He and his disciples had been walking miles. When scripture says that it was the “sixth hour,” which actually means noon. They told time in relation to sunrise, which was around 6 AM. He was tired, sweaty, and thirsty. It was the hottest part of the day in the hot Middle East. All he wanted to do was to get a drink of water. So he sits by a well, and that’s when we’re introduced to the second character in this story.
Verses 7-9 reads, “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.)”
The first thing that we should notice is that this woman is coming to draw water at the worst time. All of the other women would have came first thing in the morning when the temperature was cooler. It wouldn’t make much sense to wait until the hottest part of the day. That is, unless she wanted to avoid the crowd. We learn, just from the time that she has chosen to draw water, that this woman is an outcast. We’ll find out more about why that is in part 4 of this series.
Much to the woman’s chagrin, she wasn’t alone. As she approached the well, she could see that there was someone else there. Not only was there someone else, but it was a Jewish man. As we discussed last week and as verse 9 noted, Jews and Samaritans do not get along. On top of that, Jesus is a man. In the culture of that time, men were considered more important than women. She was hoping to avoid the crowd by going to the well at noon. Instead, she is about to encounter a Jewish man, which was even worse for her. What she doesn’t yet know is that this is no ordinary man.
What happens next is utterly amazing, even if it seems ordinary on surface level. Jesus speaks to her. Jesus would have ruined his entire reputation amongst the Jews for talking to this woman. Jews don’t associate with Samaritans and religious leaders don’t freely talk to women, let alone a Samaritan woman. This is perhaps the most scandalous passage in all of the Bible. Jesus would have just committed social suicide. He didn’t care.
Jesus came to this woman to show us all that there is no one the is separated from God’s love. It doesn’t matter what your past is; we all have one. It doesn’t matter what the world says about you. It doesn’t matter what mistakes you’ve made. All that matters is that you are loved by God.
Jesus asks her for a drink. In the English versions of the Bible, it may seem that he is demanding a drink, but it is clear by what the woman said that Jesus kindly asked for one. “The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?’” Jesus had every right (in Jewish societal norms) to order the woman to give him a drink. That’s not what he did. When he asks her, Jesus gives her the ability to say yes or no. By doing this, he made them equals in regard to ethnicity and gender. That was unheard of in that day. Jesus destroyed every cultural pretense there was when he asked her that question.
The woman had to be fearful when she arrived at the well. She was staring face-to-face with what she viewed as her enemy. She walked to the well as an outcast, but Jesus treated her as a friend. In a moment, her entire worldview had been turned upside down.
Who was this man that was treating her with kindness, a kindness that had often been void in her life? She will soon find out that she is meeting with her creator who loves her dearly. She will soon find out that the man that she is talking to came there that day specifically to be with her. She will soon find out that there are no outcasts when it comes to Jesus. She will soon find out that the acceptance that she has been seeking will forever be fulfilled in Jesus. I pray that we all learn these truths for ourselves as well.