Appointment in Samaria

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Jesus and the woman at the Well
Appointment in Samaria

Picture courtesy of pinterest.com

Today’s gospel reading is the first part of the story of Jesus encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. There are a number of lessons that we can learn from this story. This is the first.

Jesus was sent to the Jews first ......all human being are creations of God but the Jews are the ones that he chose to reveal himself through, they were intended to be the witnesses and Priests of God.

Ancestrally, Samaritans claim Jewish descent from the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh (two sons of Joseph) as well as from the Levites. Back in Biblical times, they split off from the main religion of Judaism. Samaritans believe that their worship, which is based on the Samaritan Pentateuch, is the true religion of the ancient Israelites from before the Babylonian captivity, preserved by those who remained in the Land of Israel, as opposed to Judaism, which they see as a related, but altered and amended religion, brought back by those returning from the Babylonian Captivity. While the Bible states that Babylonian colonists replaced the Jews after they were taken away in exile and these are the Samaritians. Modern genetics partially support both the claims of the Samaritans and the account in the Hebrew Bible (and Talmud), suggesting that the genealogy of the Samaritans lies in some combination of these two accounts.. In Jesus time Samaritans were considered by the Jews to be “half-breeds” who followed a corrupted religion and were despised.

This is virtually the same as what we saw centuries later with Roman Catholic’s vs Protestants, both are Christian denominations, both are supposed to be following Jesus, yet for centuries they were rivals. In many countries, that rivalry, caused suffering, hatred, violence and death, interfering with what their true purpose is meant to be, the spread of the gospel and LOVE of Jesus. I tell you the truth, those promoting violence, spouting hatred and bitterness, are not real Christians. They are NOT obeying Jesus, he said “Love your enemies”, and “turn the other cheek”. He commanded us to “Love one another” if you are NOT obeying this, you are NOT HIS and he will turn from you and say “I never knew you.”

The Bible says Jesus had to go through Samaria, but geographically, Jesus didn’t have to go through Samaria to get to Galilee. While it was the most direct route, Jesus wasn’t on a schedule or time limit and many religious Jews would refuse to take that route. In a previous journey Jesus had avoided Samaria. So why did he “have to go through Samaria” this time?

Because he had an appointment there with the woman at the well, that’s why and she states it clearly:

“The woman said, “Well, at least I know that the Messiah will come — the one they call Christ — and when he does, he will explain everything to us.” - John 4::25

Who among the Jews would know or care that the Samaritans were expecting the Messiah? The only one who would know or care about the “despised Samaritans” expectation would be the actual Messiah. Jesus knew....”he had to go through Samaria”. Further proof He is indeed the Messiah.

In Acts the Holy Spirit often blocked the Apostles from going to one place, sending them instead to another, giving clear guidance as to where he wanted them to go and when pressed for time, teleporting them from one place to another instantaneously when necessary. More than once God has stopped me from going somewhere I wanted to go, or I have been invited on a road trip at the last minute and been told to go, only to have an unexpected encounter with someone to whom God wanted me to minister along the way. You have to be open to the Holy Spirit. We are ambassadors for Jesus, his hands, his feet, his mouth, God still makes these appointments like the one Jesus had with the woman at the well, be prepared, the Holy Spirit’s diary may look nothing like yours.