Summary: When it comes to having people as a part of his kingdom: 1. God breaks all the rules. 2. God wants everyone to know him. 3. God wants us to open our eyes.
Times are changing, and it is rocking our country to the core. Cultural shifts are happening so fast that most of us cannot keep track of them. The country that our grandparents loved and grew up in no longer exists. It used to be that you graduated from high school and worked for one company all your life. A young person graduating from college today will work for a dozen companies or more before they retire. Values are changing. We used to value the “dignity of human life,” now our emphasis is on the “quality of life.” The family is being radically redefined, and will continue to be. The white majority is shrinking in the country. The Census Bureau is predicting that by the year 2010, whites will drop to only 68% of the population, and Hispanics will overtake African Americans as our country’s largest minority.
When I went to a preaching conference earlier this year in Washington, D.C., I walked along a street with several ethnic restaurants, most with sidewalk seating out front. One restaurant featured Italian cooking, another French, others featured foods from China, India, Korea, Viet Nam, Ethiopian cuisine, menus from Ghana, Pakistan, and many more. The racial mix of the area was astounding and fascinating, especially since I was used to homogenous little Mount Vernon. All of these people are coming to America, and many of them are Christians because of the faithful work of missionaries around the world. There are approximately 7,000 Latino and 3,000 Korean congregations in the U. S., with their unique worship styles. And this ethnic and cultural change is coming to Mount Vernon as well. Not only are the restaurants and orchards bringing ethnic groups to our area, but many of them are professionals: doctors, educators, and engineers. Get ready, for they are here, and more are coming. Hopefully, we will see many of them come to our church. The day has passed when you could live in a community or go to a church where you knew everyone and everyone was like you.
The Bible says that “God so loved the world . . . ,” and what that means is that God is crazy about people — all kinds and colors of people. The first point of this story that I want to bring out today is that when it comes to having people as a part of his kingdom: God breaks all the rules. When Jesus talked to this Samaritan woman, he certainly broke all the rules. First of all, Jews were not supposed to talk to Samaritans. Jews hated Samaritans. Jews would add a day’s journey on their way to Jerusalem rather than go through Samaria. Samaritans were a mixed breed, half Jew and half whatever, with a religion that was just as mixed as their racial characteristics (see 2 Kings 17:24 (quickview) ). Jews saw them as an inferior group of people who lived away from the true God, and they could not imagine God being interested in them. Jesus also broke all the rules when he spoke to this Samaritan who was also a woman. She was astonished that he would speak to her. She probably thought he was soliciting her — especially when he asked about her husband and seemed to know that she did not have one.