It’s Time to Break Barriers

Friday, July 9, 2021

1-3 Jesus realized that the Pharisees kept count of the baptisms that he and John performed (although his disciples, not Jesus, did the actual baptizing). They had posted the score that Jesus was ahead, turning him and John into rivals in the eyes of the people. So Jesus left the Judean countryside and went back to Galilee.

4-6 To get there, he had to pass through Samaria. Then, finally, he came into Sychar, a Samaritan village that bordered Jacob’s field given his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was still there. Jesus, worn out by the trip, sat down at the well. It was noon.

7-8 A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. So Jesus said, “Would you give me a drink of water?” (His disciples had gone to the village to buy food for lunch.)

9 The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, “How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (Jews in those days wouldn’t be caught dead talking to Samaritans.)

10 Jesus answered, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.” John 4:1-10 The Message

We learned in the last few verses of chapter 3 that the disciples started to see that more people were going to Jesus than John, so they confronted him with what they believe. John explained that this is not a competition and that we should all be grateful that we have people coming to Jesus. We should also have compassion for Jesus and the ministry and not our competition to see who can baptize more people.

Chapter 4 begins with Jesus going North towards Galilee. Jesus’ popularity and his message seem to challenge the Pharisees. However, Jesus was still at the beginning of his ministry, and he couldn’t confront those leaders yet, so that’s why he left to go North towards Galilee. On the route, Jesus had to go through the territory of Judea to Galilee, meaning that he couldn’t avoid traveling through Samaria. The Jews didn’t like going through Samaria. The reason for that is the hatred Jews had for mixed-race called Samaritans. Samaria fell to the Assyrians, where most Jews went back to Assyria, and foreigners were brought in to help settle the land and keep the peace. (2 Kings 17:24) Intermarriage between foreigners and the remaining Jews is impure in the opinion of the Jews who lived in the southern kingdom, which is why the Jews hated Samaritans. The Samaritans had to set up a temporary center for worship on Mount Gerizim (4:20) to keep in line with the temple at Jerusalem. One-hundred fifty years earlier, the temple was destroyed. There was prejudice between the Jews and the Samaritans; Jesus didn’t go for those types of restrictions.

Jesus met the woman who came to draw water at the well. The woman pulled water twice a day, morning and evening. But on this day, she arrived at noon probably of her reputation; she didn’t want to be seen by people. Jesus meant the woman at Jacob’s well, the plot where Jacob had given to his son Joseph. (You can find that story in Genesis chapter 37.) Jesus’ disciples went to town to buy food at this time. Jesus asked the woman if he can have a drink? The woman told Jesus that he is a Jew and she is a Samaritan woman; why ask me for a drink because of the history of Samaritans and Jews? Jesus didn’t care about history and was not about to let history keep him from talking to this woman or anybody else. But because she doesn’t know Jesus, he had to tell her that if you knew of the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him, and he would give you living water. You can find the deeper meaning of the living water in Psalm 42:1, Isaiah 55:1, Jeremiah 2:13, Zechariah 13:1, and the spring of living water in Jeremiah 17:13. The Messiah (Jesus) is the only person that can give this gift that satisfies the soul’s desire.

When you revisit verse 10, think about what Jesus did. He broke barriers by talking to a woman of sin, mixed race, and the bad blood of Samaritans and Jews. He is kind to everybody that comes his way. So here is the bottom line. Lately, I have seen social media posts about hate towards the LGBTQ community and people of color. I have seen it a lot coming from my fellow Christians as well. How did we come to hate others? Who told us it was okay to hate because it is a sin? I don’t recall Jesus telling us that. You expect to be loved even when you sin. Why is it okay to hate on those that sin the same way you do? Nobody is willing to break barriers and be a better person. Instead of being hateful, try loving those you have disagreements with the one you debate. Love on those that are not your color. Be the person to step up and defend love when someone is hating. Hold those people accountable for the wrong actions they take. Be that person of problem-solving, not problem-creating.

Father, I pray for love in our world today. Be with those that hate. The ones who don’t realize they are hateful, let it shine on them that the hate is hurtful and turn those hateful words into love. I call it to action. In Jesus’ name. Amen