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Monday, January 12, 2015

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Jesus wants to save people who are ignored by those of us who are supposed to be His disciples.  A few years ago on a visit to Israel I drove through Samaria, the setting of this chapter.  Jacob’s well is located between Mount Gerizin and Mount Ebal.  It is close to the ancient Canaanite city of Shechem, where Abraham had built an altar to the Lord after He appeared to him and gave him this land for his descendants (Genesis 12:6-7).

The passage shines a light on the singular imperative of the life of Jesus on earth. He came to reach those who were overlooked and looked down on by society and often by the church.  Here, Jesus models for His disciples of yesterday and today the need to get rid of prejudice that keeps us from reaching the lost. 

From the perspective of the Jews—including the disciples of Jesus—the Samaritan person who came to the well was the wrong gender, the wrong religion, the wrong social class, the wrong race, and on top of that she was living in sin. Certainly she was not someone Jesus should risk His reputation over by speaking to her.  Yet, the message is clear as underlined in Acts 10:15: “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.”  The passage is speaking of people we often see as less than us. We must allow the power of God to get rid of all these socially constructed notions that build walls between us and others that God wants us to reach for Him. 

It is remarkable to see what happens when we share the grace of Jesus with those lost in sin.  Ellen White says: “The Samaritan woman who talked with Jesus at Jacob’s well had no sooner found the Savior than she brought others to Him. She proved herself a more effective missionary than His own disciples” (The Ministry of Healing, p. 102).

May we search our hearts today and ask God to cleanse us from ethnic, tribal and racial prejudices.  Then He can maximize our spiritual gifts so we can reach others and introduce them to the saving power of Jesus Christ.

Willie Oliver
Department of Family Ministries
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists