Summary: Not much has changed in the course of human history

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Sermon for John 4:5-42

Third Sunday in Lent

February 24th 2008

Wow! What a text uh? I could probably put together 6-8 sermons each lasting about 45 minutes. What do you think of that? Well seeing that I only have about 20 minutes, I want us to look at a couple aspects of today’s gospel that hopefully help us to become more like the one who came to save us.

Seeing that Lent is a time of struggle, a time of growth we are given texts that seem to challenge more than normal. Therefore, it is difficult to share some of things that need to be said, yet must be said.

First things first! Not much has changed in the course of human history. The Samaritans were hated by the Jews. You see, some 600 years before Christ the nation of Israel was taken into captivity by Babylon. Yet not all were taken. Mostly the Jews on the high end of the economic ladder were made slaves. Makes sense to leave the weak and the unimportant behind.

What happened was that during the 70 years of captivity the Israelites left behind began to intermarry and combine culture others in the area. The result was a mixed race, part Jew and part Gentile. What we might now call the Palestinians.

These new “half breeds” practiced a blended form of the Jewish religion, and so when the educated religious Jews returned from exile they drove these unclean people out of Jerusalem and Judea. They moved north into Samaria and there you have the Samaritans. The Jews had such animosity for the Samaritans they refused to even walk through their country.

This posed a problem cause if you wished to travel from Judea to Galilee, Samaria was in the middle and so the devout Jews would go out of their way, cross the Jordan River, travel north and then cross back over the Jordan.

Like I said, not much has changed in the course of human history.

Midway through Christianity’s history, 1000 after the death of Christ, the educated and religious leaders wanting to promote their beliefs, set out to conquer the world with the message of Love from Jesus the Christ. They attempted to spread this Love through the Crusades and the Inquisition. They did this by the sword, making those different from them confess their faith or die. They did however baptize those who would not accept the Love of God before they killed them. This was to enable them not to die in their sins.

Like I said, not much has changed in the course of human history.

I can remember not too long ago in Hickory NC, there were technically two parts of the city, rich and poor, white and black. White schools, black school, white restrooms, black restrooms, and on and on. The main streets were even rerouted so one did not have to go through the black section of town.

My father, a Lutheran pastor, doing the work of Christ, began assisting with the civil rights movement. He had a large church in the white neighborhood, some 2000 members, and one Sunday the dean of English at Duke University attended our all white congregation. The following Sunday there stood a sign that read, “No Niggers Allowed.”

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