Summary: Viewing Jesus' compassion and love for a the Samaritan Women we are invited to match that compassion and love for all people that Jesus has shown
Grace and Peace to you from God the Father, Son, and The Holy Spirit. Amen
I was looking back through some pictures of when Corey and I first began dating and chuckled at one picture we took when we went to the Henry Dorley Zoo in Omaha. We were goofing around and found one of those headless frames that you put your face into and it makes you look like something you’re not.
You’ve probably done it before too, it may have been a frame of a really old couple, or a muscle man, or a clown. They’re intended to get a good laugh and maybe you’ve even snapped a picture to laugh at later. Well we still have a picture of my face sticking through on a bumble bee and Corey’s face inside a flower. Our faces don’t match the bee or flower but that’s the point of the picture. It’s supposed to look goofy.
We know from scripture that Christ is often said to be the head of our Christian Church. And we, the followers of Christ make up the body of Christ. Kind of like those wood cutouts. Separate, yet are intended to work together in this life. The head of the church, Christ, and we…the body are supposed to work together. We get a great sense of the head of the church this today in our gospel reading. We get a taste of what the face of the church, Jesus Christ, looks like.
As we piece together what the head of our church looks like…I think it’s easy to forget how radical this scene with Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well really was. This encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan women is well known but I believe we have a hard time understanding the barriers Jesus crossed that afternoon.
This was not supposed to happen. First off Jesus was not supposed to speak to women. Much less speak about theological things with women. God conversations were not supposed to happen between men and women.
Further, no man was supposed to speak alone to a woman without a chaperone. Now picture this…not only was this a woman Jesus was not related to, and a woman Jesus didn’t know, but this also was a woman who was married five times before….and was currently with a man that was not her husband. Imagine catching a pastor inside a brothel, speaking openly to the women there, and you only begin to taste how scandalous this was for Jesus to do.
On top of all this, Jesus speaks to a Samaritan. Now the history of the Jews and Samaritans is complex, very complex, but it boils down to the fact that the Samaritans were a loathed group of people. The Samaritans as a people committed one unforgivable sin years ago.
The Samaritans had committed an inexcusable sin when the Jews in Samaria intermarried with their captors four centuries before Christ. They mixed their blood with people that did not follow God. And because of this the Samaritans had forever lost their purity in the eyes of the Jews in Judea and Galilee. The Samaritans could never be forgiven.
Yet…Jesus does the unthinkable. Jesus speaks with her. And not just a passing hey….it sure is a nice day isn’t it…or I can’t believe we got more snow last night…type of conversation. No Jesus really speaks with this woman. In fact, Jesus speaks longer with the Samaritan woman than anyone else we have recorded in our gospels. Think about that for one second. This is the longest recorded one-on-one conversation we have of Jesus speaking with another person. Longer than any conversation he had with a disciple. Longer than the conversation he had with Nicodemus. This is the greatest conversation we have recorded in our gospels between Jesus and another human being!
A Samaritan women. An unclean woman. A woman who has had five husbands and is with a man that is not her husband. Unthinkable!
Now I have to be honest for a moment…I have a hard time relating with The Samaritan woman. I don’t think I can even begin to understand how ostracized and reviled this woman must have felt. I have no idea and likely will never have any idea what she felt and experienced as a Samaritan woman 2000 years ago.
I have a hard time relating because I am a man. Not only am I a man but I am a white man…a white man who lives in the most powerful and successful country this world has ever seen. Honestly, the hardest obstacle I face in life right now is my youth. This world, this country, this community is setup for me to succeed simply because I am a white male. I have no idea what it feels like to be that woman, a Samaritan women at the well…as Jesus came spoke with her, sat down with her. And the woman states plainly and boldly…one day…one day the Messiah will come…I know that Messiah is coming one day…for me”……