Learn from the Master Himself.
There is just something about the story of the Samaritan Woman. It is no wonder that it is one of the famous stories in the Bible. It tells the story of a significant turnaround in life. But deep beneath, it encompasses great wisdom, understanding, discretion, and compassion.
The way Jesus approached the matter of the woman was a pathway He left for us.
- He came there just for the woman.
Our master was on His way to Galilee from Judea. Historians tell us that the road through Samaria was longer and more undesirable. Also, there was centuries-old disharmony between the Jews and Samaritans. Despite that, this one woman was worth the stress to Jesus. We must learn to value every person if we must draw men/women to God.
- Perfect environment.
The first thing Jesus did was to send His disciples away to have some alone time with her. This was because He had seen the delicate and sensitive mood she was in; we would see this in the next point. He needed no one to trigger her, knowing his disciples’ glib tongue and yet-to-be regenerated hearts.
He taught us there that we must learn to be in the shoe of whoever we want to reach out to. They could be going through more than you could ever imagine, so we need not be confrontational. We must put the person’s interest first.
- Reaching out.
Let me intimate you a little about this woman first to see the unseen hurdles Jesus broke through. This woman had been so criticized by her people that she became an abomination. She fetches her water at noon, when the sun is high up, rather than the cool of the evening when the women and girls came to draw theirs. This was either her choice or one forced upon her by the harsh treatment she got from fellow women. This woman was judged not just by others but by the self-awareness that she would never be like other women. She had gone too far to go back. She was angry with the other women and herself. She was mad at the world in general for the inequalities she experienced. She set a defense about her to repel before being repelled, attack before being attacked. You could read the defensive attack on Jesus while she communed with Him, the sarcasm in her voice when she asked: How is it that a Jew like you will ask a Samaritan like me for water? (The Jews thought themselves to be superior to the Samaritans).
Or when she asked How will you draw water without anything? Not only are you feeling superior to us, but are you also greater than our father Jacob, who dug the well in the first place?
She said: ‘Our fathers worship in this mountain, but you say Jerusalem is the only worship place’. That was yet another accusation against the system generally, and it stripped her of all hope of redemption.
You could tell how frustrated she was when she said: ‘Give me this water, so I don’t have to come here again.’ She was fed up with the shame and torture.
Jesus, with patience and compassion, worked on her little by little until He worked her into desperation and finally to submission.
Looking at this story, we would find many similarities if we have ever attempted to reach out to someone. Perhaps that has either alienated us from the person, or from reaching out generally, or worse, caused us to condemn the person. But Jesus is teaching us not only to expect such but to also approach with unselfish love and wisdom, knowing that it could be stemming from something more profound than the eyes can see.
So the next time you see that person who seems to be unapologetically ‘lost,’ please do not join the multitude of other Jews or Samaritans to condemn them but instead, remember that it was for that one person Jesus went through Samaria.