The message today was on Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman. I was eager to hear what new insights the Pastor would reveal from this famous passage. He picked up in
John 4:4 It begins saying—“Now he had to go through Samaria.” He stopped there and I wondered what he would say about that simple statement. He posed the question, ‘why did Jesus have to go through Samaria?’ Certainly this was not a story about travel directions, He certainly did not have to go through Samaria. In fact, it would be rare for a Jew to go through this town of mixed races and mixed religions. Many would never take this route. But Jesus HAD to go? Jesus always seems to do as he sees fit and surely no one compelled him to go.
The Pastor then began to surmise that this chance encounter with the Samarian woman was not chance but rather the reason Jesus chose this route. Her need compelled Jesus and he MUST go, not to get something from her but to give her the deepest need of her soul. He was interested in her. Because of her he had to go that way. He must.
The Pastor had a picture of Madonna the singer on the overhead to demonstrate how we tend to see the surface and often overlook the needs of the heart. Of course my first reaction was a middle age repulsion of this embodiment of evil, so his modern day illustration of the repulsion of the Jews was effective. The Jews had two sayings about Samaritans; “to eat Samaritan bread is to eat swine’s flesh, and, Samaritan women are always unclean.” I guess I kind of felt that way about Madonna. But Jesus HAD to go to through Samaria.
I left church today with a greater sense of the heart of God. I felt if the living Christ truly lives in us, and in a world with needs at every turn, then we too must go.