Outcast Giving

In Samaria he came to a town named Sychar, which was not far from the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by the trip, sat down by the well. It was about noon. A Samaritan woman came to draw some water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink of water.” ( His disciples had gone into town to buy food.) The woman answered, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan—so how can you ask me for a drink?” (Jews will not use the same cups and bowls that Samaritans use.)”. ‭‭John‬ ‭4‬:‭5‬-‭9‬ ‭

When I read this account in the Bible, I picture the well at ground level. I imagine Jesus intentionally walking up to her, sitting on the edge of the round stone well, and striking up a conversation. He would have seen her as she approached, she would have seen Him. She might have tried to hurry a little faster in getting her water. He was intentional in His timing, but I never considered how intentional.

While visiting Israel, we were shown a well that was similar to what the Samaritan woman would have drawn water from back then. Although Jesus might have seen someone at the well, Jesus would have walked down about 40 meters to meet and converse with her. It wasn’t a chance meeting, He pursued the encounter with her.

It is easy to point out that Jews didn’t associate with Samaritans due to the intermarrying with other groups following the split of the kingdom, detailed in 2 Kings 17. Also that back then, men didn’t talk with with women that were not relatives. These were considered moral, social and spiritual issues of the time. This particular woman was also divorced and in adultry.

The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” John 4:17-18

Even in our day, spiritual consideration aside, moral and social issues often leave people as outcasts. Different groups may draw the line in different spot, but there is always some group that is considered outcast. It may be moral standards, behaviors, appearance, past or present lifestyle, belief system (spiritual, political, morally, or socially) that makes someone an outcast from a particular group.

This encounter between the Jesus and the Samaritan woman speak volumes as to how Jesus approached outcasts. Jesus pursued His encounter with her. He was intentional in His inclusion of her. It was not an accident. He knew where He was going and why He was going there. He even waited for her to go and tell the rest of her community about Him, just incase we would be led to believe it was something about her that made the transaction different. Outcast, Jesus went to them. He was not always waiting for them to come to Him, although at times they sought Him out.

The other thing that stands out to me in His encounter with the woman from Samaria is He asked of her something she could give. Regardless of how scandalous it looked, Jesus asked her for a drink of water. She could have told Him “no”, it is clear she gave a little push back in her response reminding Him of her place and His. She could have walked away. She could have not come back after He exposed her sin. He offered her Himself in return.

Jesus asks us to give to Him also. Jesus never asks us to give Him something we don’t have. He may ask for all that we have, but never something we don’t have. He asks us because He wants it to be our choice to enter in with Him. He is not a dictator who forces Himself upon us, but willingly takes what we give Him. He wants to take our sin from us. He wants to free us of our shame, guilt and insecurities. He wants us to give Him our life. He wants to give us good in return. He wants to bring change into our life, even as He accepts us as we are.

Jesus didn’t live by societal norms. He was an outcast from those who should have gladly accepted Him as the long awaited Messiah. He accepted the outcasts from those who should have accepted Him. He pursued them. Jesus asked for what could be freely given by the woman at the well, what she had to give. He accepts us despite our failures and shortcomings. He takes what we are willing to give to Him and replaces it with only things that will eventually work out for our good.

Prayer – Lord, I am so thankful that You pursued me too. Despite my spiritual, moral and social failures You intentionally came to me and asked me to give You my life. May I never discount those who society outcasts, let me accept them with Your love and compassion and give them a glimpse of You through me. In Jesus name. Amen.

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