Bible Society of South Africa

A talk with a Samaritan woman – 10 September 2021

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

6Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired out by the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

7A Samaritan woman came to draw some water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink of water.”

John 4:6-7GNBOpen in Bible reader

The One who was the origin of the living water used his thirst for ordinary water as a point of contact to enter into a conversation with a woman who had never had access to the source of living water before. Yesterday, we looked at the meeting between Jesus and a non-Jewish woman. Today, we see Jesus in conversation with another woman and, once again, she is not a Jew, but even worse, she is a Samaritan.

To really understand how extraordinary this meeting was, we need to have a look at who the Samaritans were. After the death of King Solomon, the Kingdom of the Ten Tribes: Israel, broke away from the Kingdom of the Two Tribes: Judah. At a later stage, Israel was carried away in exile and ceased to be a nation.

The Samaritans probably came from the remnants of Israel with many Gentiles joining them. They built their own capital, Samaria, in what is today known as the West Bank and practised a religion similar to that of the Jews but not quite the same. Although from the same bloodline as the Jews, they were despised by the latter because they were not of pure Jewish lineage and especially because they did not practise the pure Jewish religion.

When Jesus wants to meet people, he does not worry about all these prejudices. He does not see a despised person from a despised group, but a human being in need of living water. His meeting with her does not only change her life, but also all of those in the small town. When they begged him to stay with them, he stayed two days and we read in verse 41: “Many more believed because of his message.” At this meeting Jesus changed the life of a woman who would have been classed as a bad woman because she had a string of former husbands and was even now living unmarried with another one. He also changed the perceptions and prejudices the Jews had about the Samaritans.

Prayer: Dear Lord please help me never to look at people with preconceptions of who or what they are. Help me to introduce them to the source of living water, Jesus Christ. Amen

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