Summary: Making small changes in our lives or the lives of others can have big impacts, especially since we live in an area that is spiritually dry and thirsty.
There once was a man who was not well-educated and rather rough and crude around the edges, but he was recently converted and was on fire for the Lord. He constantly asked the minister to give him some work that would be helpful to the church. Finally, the minister gave the man a list of ten people who hadn¡¦t been in church for years nor made any financial contribution. Some of these people were quite prominent in the community. The minister said, "What I want you to do is get these people back to church, however you can. You can use church stationery if you want, but get these people back to church."
Three weeks later the minister got an envelope in the mail from a prominent doctor whose name was on the list, along with a cheque for $1,000.00 and a note that read, "Dear Reverend, please excuse my inactivity at church. I really have no excuse. Accept this cheque as a partial contribution for all the Sundays I¡¦ve missed, and be assured I will never, by choice, miss worship again.
Sincerely, J.B. Jones, M.D.
P.S.: Will you kindly tell your secretary that there is only one 't'¨ in dirty and no 'c'¨ in skunk?"
John 4:5-42 marks a shift in Jesus ministry. It marks a shift from ministry to the Jews only to ministry to both Jews and Gentiles. Jesus had to go through Samaria. God is willing to go anywhere to meet us as sinners. No one is outside the reach of God¡¦s love. God¡¦s gifts are for outsiders. Those who consider themselves worthy of those gifts will be in for a nasty surprise!
It was ironic that he, as a Jew, went through Samaria. The Assyrians defeated Samaria and took many Samaritans into captivity. Those remaining in Samaria intermarried with non-Jewish people, which compromised their ethnic identity and went against many Jewish customs regarding cleanliness. Later, the Babylonians defeated Judea and took many Judeans into captivity. The Judeans managed to maintain their identity while in captivity. When they were finally allowed to return to Judea, they rebuilt the temple. The Samaritans offered to help, but were rebuffed because of their mixed heritage. They later built their own temple on Mount Gerizim, which started a continuing controversy regarding the proper place of worship. John Hyrcanus destroyed the Gerizim temple in 128 B.C.
Because he was human, Jesus was tired. To make matters worse, he was travelling during the hottest part of the day, so he was thirsty. Jesus took the initiative by speaking to the woman. In Jewish society, that was a taboo. It was against the culture and traditions for a man to speak to a woman in public unless she was his wife. The woman also broke with tradition by going to the well during the hottest part of the day. Normally women came to the well in the morning or in the evening. While they were getting water, they would catch up on all the news or gossip (much like people around here do when they go to the barber, the beauty salon or Tim Horton¡¦s!ƒº )If the immoral woman showed up at the same time, she would have been the target of their gossip.