Our gracious Lord doesn’t look at people they way we do. He doesn’t see the outward appearance. He sees deep into the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)
This attitude was always apparent in Jesus’ life here on earth. One particular instance is in the story of his meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well.
The Bible story of the woman at the well is in John 4: 1-42.
It is a simple story and one that we might not consider significant without understanding the climate of the times.
- Samaria was an area within Palestine. Its people were racially mixed and practiced a religion that had resulted from an attempted blending of Jewish and pagan beliefs.
- Jews would never associate with Samaritans. In fact, they hated them so much they would travel miles out of their way to avoid crossing Samaria.
- Jews would not even use a dish a Samaritan had used.
- The prejudices of the day prohibited public conversation between men and women, between Jews and Samaritans, and especially between strangers.
- A Jewish rabbi would never teach matters of religion to a woman.
The Bible says Jesus had to cross Samaria. Why, when other Jews traveled around the country, did he have to cross it? Because he had a divine appointment.
The Bible goes on to say he was tired and stopped to rest at the well. The disciples went to town to find food, and a woman came to the well to fill her water jar.
Jesus did something that surprised her: he asked her for a drink of water shattering three of the above taboos. .
The woman immediately challenged Him, asking why He would speak to her, a Samaritan woman.
Jesus responded with a conversation of "living water", drawing her interest and leading her toward spiritual teaching. He was speaking of the gift of the Holy Spirit, however she had no understanding of spiritual matters, and mistakenly thought that this living water might save her the chore of going to the well for a drink.
It seems before she could receive spiritual truth, the woman had to acknowledge the sin in her life.
Jesus, "Go get your husband and come back."
Woman, "I don’t have a husband."
Jesus, "What you say is true. You have had five husbands and the man you have now is not your husband."
Realizing that this man was more than met the eye, her questions turned to religious matters, though still in a materialistic point of view.
She asked, "Where is the true place of worship?"
Jesus spoke to her of the new order of things that would begin with him.
"God is spirit, and His worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth."
Then, this Samaritan woman received a blessing that is rare in New Testament Bible stories. While in most meetings, Jesus left it to the listener to discern his deity; he told this woman plainly that he was the long awaited Messiah. (John 4:25, 26)
She believed, left her water jug behind, and ran into town to tell everyone she knew.
When you meet Jesus (and understand who he is) nothing else matters—not physical matters, not fear of rejection, nothing.
- As a woman, she was used to being seen as less important.
- She was from a despised people.
- She was a woman of low moral standard and probably despised by the people of her town.
- She was uneducated, especially in the truth of God.
Jesus doesn’t see gender, race, or status. He seeks out those who need him and goes out of his way to meet them where they are.