When Jesus Broke Down the Barrier of Religion in Samaria

Read John 4:19-26 and you’ll see Jesus knocking down one huge barrier in Samaria that still stands between many people and God today. And the craziest thing about the method that Jesus used was that he actually used God to do it!

When the Samaritan woman at the well brings up the issue of religion Jesus gets her back to the point that a lot of people in religion miss by getting her back to the starting point instead of focusing solely on the end point. And why did he do that? Because the fastest way to tear down a wall is by starting at the bottom where it rests on the foundation; not by hitting all of the bricks that are sitting on top.

Now were the Samaritans wrong in their religion and religious behavior? Yes! They accepted the Torah as God’s word, but they rejected the prophets. They worshipped God but they rejected the circumstances God required (i.e. they chose Mt. Gerizim and their own priests over Jerusalem and the Levites). They had a desire to be God’s people but they fought against the people of God. So yes, Jesus does correct the woman, but he doesn’t tackle these issues in-depth one at a time – instead he gets her away from Judea, away from Samaria and away from religion for a moment by getting her back to God.

Jesus tells the woman what kind of person God is looking for. He knew what kind of person she was, she knew what kind of person she was, but Jesus brings her to God by telling her what kind of person she could be! He lets her know that the time had come when God would remove the religious barriers that separated people. There would be no more Samaritan, no more Jew, no more Mt. Gerizim and no more Jerusalem to use as barriers, but rather an acceptance of people by God who had a hunger for him. Not a hunger for religion, but a hunger for a relationship.

And guess who gets brought up when the barriers get torn down? The Messiah! The same Messiah introduced by John the apostle in John 1:1,14, the same Messiah proclaimed by John the baptizer in John 1:29, the same Messiah who taught a top-notch Pharisee that a physical birth wasn’t going to be enough to be a member of God’s kingdom in John 3:3-5 and the same Messiah who would create a body of united believers by breaking down barriers through his broken body.

It was the very Messiah who was revealing some raw truth to woman living in a religiously cooked world when he told her that he was the one that the thirsty people in Samaria were looking for! This Messiah was Jesus the Christ, the one who knew how to tear down a barrier that didn’t belong where it was.

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24)

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A Bad Samaritan

Yesterday my lesson was on the Good Samaritan! Earlier this morning at dawn I was driving through the countryside towards work and happened upon a hitch-hiker. I didn’t recognize him from the area. There was no broken-down vehicle. He was 30ish and in a tank-top t-shirt. I thought of all the bad things that could happen if I stopped and “passed by on the other side”. I hadn’t driven 500 yards before I thought of yesterday’s lesson and if God might be putting me to the test. Did I go back? I didn’t go back! I decided forgiveness was the better route to take!

#hitch-hiker, #samaritan

A Good Samaritan – JAM

Hugo Tale-Yax is a hero in my book. The 31-year-old homeless and out-of-work Guatemalan immigrant died April 18 after he stopped to help rescue a woman from an attacker. It happened on a Queens, New York city street in full view of a surveillance camera and dozens of people passing by. The woman was attacked and busy New Yorkers passed by with averted eyes until Hugo stepped in. The attacker turned on him and stabbed him and fled. The woman also fled and the citizens of New York ignored him, some stepping over his bleeding body. Hugo was a Good Samaritan in a day when there are fewer and fewer Good Samaritans. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess

#just-a-minute, #samaritan

Jesus’ Conversation with the Samaritan Woman

Today’s nudge: What stands out in your mind in the story of Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well?

I think the biggest thing that stands out for me is the example Jesus set for us today. In His time, Samaritans were looked down upon as the “dogs” of their time. Jesus went against all the political correctness and racism of his time to share God’s message with these “social rejects”. He treated them for what they were: humans created by and loved by God who were in need of God’s saving grace — just like the Jews. We should do no less.

#nudge, #political-correctness, #racism, #samaritan