“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)” -John 4: 7-9
There are so many reasons we divide ourselves as a people. Often, we choose only to see our differences. At times, we only see our racial differences, our cultural differences, our religious differences, or our economic differences. Unfortunately, we allow them to define who we associate with. Sadly, when we define ourselves by our differences, we miss so many special connections, friendships, and blessing from the rich diversity of people in God’s great kingdom.
John’s story of the woman at the well demonstrates the importance of being willing to encounter others who are different from ourselves. John tells us that Jesus is resting from his travels at Jacob’s well. While he was there, a Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well. Jesus asked her for a drink. Her reply shows the great division between the Jews and Samaritans. She did not offer him a drink, instead she replies, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” In that moment, where so many possibilities existed, the woman only saw their differences.
Thankfully, the story does not end with her question. Jesus continues to converse with the woman and she quickly finds that he is much more than what she originally thought. Her time with Jesus becomes a life-giving and life-defining moment for her. Her life was blessed because they did not allow their differences to define their interaction and end their relationship before it even began.
I wonder how often we miss out on special moments in our lives because we don’t engage with other people who are different from us. When we are willing to see past our differences, we open our lives up to wonderful possibilities. That day at Jacob’s well, two people found a great blessing in a relationship not defined by differences, but by the love and grace of God. There is great joy in getting to know all of God’s wonderful people.
– Rev. Keith King, Pastor of Worship