Read John 4: 5-42
In Jesus’ meeting with the Samaritan woman we see him reaching out across the divisions of his world which are not very different from the divisions of our world today. In a most vivid manner Jesus shows us a way of love which draws people together, uniting them and restoring to fellowship the rejected and the outcast.
There were several reasons why Jesus would be expected to ignore the Samaritan woman. The divisions between Jews and Samaritans were deeply entrenched and the differences between them had hardened into open hostility. By his willingness as a Jewish Rabbi to enter into a long conversation with a Samaritan woman of ill-repute Jesus was casting aside many of the social customs of the day. This required enormous courage.
Jesus ignored the barrier between man and woman, between Jew and Samaritan, and by his compassion enabled this woman to recover her dignity and self-respect. Her encounter with Jesus had made such an obvious impact on her life that others wanted to discover for themselves who Jesus was. And their personal experience led them also to believe that Jesus was truly the Saviour of the world.
Reaching out to others as Jesus did requires courage, humility and the grace of God. But such reaching out is often met by a shared willingness to receive, and this can lead to a response which enables the breaking down of unhappy divisions and barriers.
Imbued with the humility and courage of Jesus we can bring new hope for peace in our divided world.