Summary: There are many times when we feel like outcasts - on those occasions Jesus, who is also an outcast, crosses our path and brings us hope.
What happens when Jesus crosses your path? Well anything can happen can’t it.
When Jesus crossed Peter’s path Peter went from an unschooled fisherman to a disciple.
When Jesus crossed Matthew’s path Matthew went from hated tax collector to well-loved Gospel writer.
When Jesus crossed the path of Lazarus, Lazarus went from a four day old corpse to eating dinner with his family.
Right throughout the Gosepels there is story after story of people whose lives were effected by Jesus in a very powerful way. One of those people was this unnamed Samaritan woman whose life was transformed.
For her the day started like any other day. Rising early she sent her defacto partner off to work. At about 7:00am the village women walk past her door, on their way to get water from the village well known as Jacob's Well.
They would walk past her house in groups of three or four.
Their joyful chatter and spirited laughter mocked her everyday.
Of course early morning was the perfect time to collect water – when the day was still cool. But it had been years since she had been to the well with them.
The condemning stares.
The hushed whispers.
The deliberate isolation.
It became too much to bear.
She would get water when no-one else did. The middle of the day when the sun was hottest. Why did she behave this way? This Samaritan woman was an outcast. In fact she was an outcast among outcasts.
In the eyes of a Jew she was an outcast because of her ethnic background.
The comment in verse 9 says it all, Jews do not associate with Samaritans. There was a lot of ethnic tension between Jews and Samaritans – tension which comes as a result of history.
When the king of Assyria conquered the Northern Tribes of Israel in 722BC he removed most of the inhabitants – and then replaced them with people from other countries. This strategy was known as deportation – spreading the inhabitants of a conquered land to other nations in order to discourage regrouping and retaliation.
As the new group of people from various nations began to work together they would often keep their old religion and mix it with the religion of their new country. In Israel these imported people became known as Samaritans – a mixed race of unfaithful Jews and outside pagans. The words of 2 Kings 17:41 summarises the situation well
Even while these people were worshipping the LORD, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as they fathers did.
In the eyes of a Jew the Samaritans were disloyal to the true God. This woman Samaritan was an outcast.
But that is not where it stops. In the eyes of her fellow villages her poor moral reputation makes her an outcast in the Samaritan society. This woman has a bad reputation. She’s been married five times and is currently living with a man to whom she is not married.
We are not told if the five marriages ended in death or divorce – but the odds of loosing five husbands to death is very small.