Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the 6th hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, “Give me to drink”. (for his disciples were gone away into the city to buy meat.). Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, “How is it that thou being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria ?” for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
John the Evangelist records here the meeting of Jesus with the Woman at the Well. The incident speaks volumes and I shall take this time only the fact of the meeting, and those involved.
The Samaritans were particularly odious to Jews. Not only were they not Jews, and therefore not the chosen of God, but they were a reminder of the deportation of the ten tribes of Israel from the promised land. They were deported as a result of God’s Judgment on them for persistent disobedience and idolatry.
The Samaritans were the descendants of those who replaced the Jews [or at best those who had intermarried with heathen]. They were objectionable as heathen, as displacers and as a reminder of Israel’s former glory and failure.
That alone was cause for any Jew to refuse all respect to this person. But there was something else here at work, another dimension of rejection. She was a woman; and not only was she a woman, but she was an adulteress.
On every level therefore – religious, cultural, moral and social – she was to all intents a non person to be ignored. She was emphatically not someone to be given the courtesy of acknowledgement or consideration as a fellow human being.
For us today – at least in the Western world of the 21st century – it is impossible for us to imagine or relate to the sense of this woman’s unworthiness to be spoken to by Jesus and to appreciate the social gulf which separated them in the culture of those times.
Yet he not only speaks to her, he engages in a spiritual conversation, whose only purpose could have been to save her and her fellow Samaritans from rejection by God. The account goes on to record that many Samaritans believed on Jesus because of what the woman told them.
The message is quite clear.
No one is so rejected or despised by their fellow human beings as to be beyond God’s love and care.
God’s perspective and view is in stark contrast with the hypocritical condescension which we human beings are not only capable of, but well practised in.
We can all recognise this truth about ourselves; we have all done looked down and despised another human being. Regarded them as worthless, meaningless.
But God is quite different.
And that is another aspect of our wilful degradation.
We refuse to see God for who he actually is.
We see in him our own image, not his !