This set of post on God Encounters will deal with Jesus and His encounter with the woman at the well. It is a powerful story and to be honest – this time through it God showed me things that I had not noticed in the past. Jesus encountered this woman and her life changed but it was much more than that!If you do not know the story click here and read it.
Now that you have read it let me ask you this – did you notice that verse 4 says that Jesus had to pass through Samaria? There were other ways around but John writes that Jesus had to go this way – why? It is because God encounters are many times divine appointments and Jesus will always keep divine appointments. Why must Jesus go through Samaria? Because there were people there who needed to hear Him.
Do believe in divine appointments? Do you seek divine appointments? God, I believe has divine appointments set up for each of us to talk with people on His behalf. Here is the problem we ignore them, do not keep in close enough proximity to Christ to know realize what they are or we shun or avoid people that God brings to us. That is the same mentality that the Jews had with the Samaritans and it is wrong – be looking for divine appoints!
To understand this even more you need to understand that Samaria was a hated place. Although the road through Samaria was the shortest route to Galilee, devout Jews avoided it. They avoided it because there was a deep distrust and dislike between Jews and Samaritans. Why was that? When the southern kingdom of Judah was conquered by the Babylonians, they took almost everyone captive, exiling them to the Babylonian Empire – which we talked about last week with Ezekiel. All they left behind were the lowest classes of people, because they did not want "those type" of people in Babylonia. Those that were left behind intermarried with other people who slowly came into the region, and the Samaritans emerged as an ethnic and religious group. And because the Samaritans had a historical and ethnic connection to the people of Israel, their faith was a combination of law and ritual from the Law of Moses, and various superstitions from other religions because of who they married. Most Jews in Jesus’ time despised the Samaritans, even more than Gentiles. Why, because as they saw it, they were, religiously speaking and ethnically speaking, "half-breeds" who had an eclectic, mongrel in faith. They were looked down upon, hated, and avoided at all cost.
What we see here is that Jesus breaks through that thought and we see is that God encounters those that society has discarded (6-7). For this woman it is even worse than just being a Samaritan which was bad because as we said they are considered half breeds and hated. To understand why it is worse for her you have to first ask why would she be getting water at the noon hour when all the other women would be getting their water early in the day when it was cooler? It was because she was an outcast among the outcasts! She was a discarded person among a society of people who were considered outcasts. Who are those that you see as outcasts? Who are those that you treat as outcasts? Is that the right and godly way to be? Jesus was one who was all inclusive – he made contact with people and encountered people who we would certainly push to the side and push away. I believe it breaks the heart of God when we treat others as outcasts. When we realize we have done it – we must go and make things right.
That leads to this: Jesus encounters those we think are unlovely and that others do not want to encounter and Jesus does it at risk of defiling Himself (6-9). Think about this, for Jesus to have dealings with this woman was for Him to risk ritual defilement. The ritual impurity of the person was thought to pass to whatever he or she had contact with, like spiritual germs. In other words they thought Samaritans to be in a continual state of uncleanness and for Jesus to even be around her, was in the eyes of some of the religious leaders, making him unclean. Jesus is willing to go wherever you are to get you! Are you willing to reach out and defile yourself?
Do you believe in divine appointments? Have you ever reached out to those that society has discarded?