Breaking Taboo for the Gospel

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“How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” John 4:9

 Jews usually traveled around the land of Samaria rather than go through it, unless they had necessary reason. Even then there were rules. If while in Samaria a Jew were walking and saw a Samaritan coming toward him on the path, the Jew was expected to get well off the road so that not even their shadows would mix.

 Jesus does not go around but through this because He is the light to the nations. His meeting this women of Samaria was not coincidental but intentional.

 He comes to Jacob’s well and located about of a half mile away was the Samaritan town of Sychar, to which his disciples went to buy food. Jesus is sitting beside the well, weary, and it is about noon.

 A Samaritan woman comes to the well to draw water. Jesus has every reason to ignore her. First, she is Samaritan and therefore unclean. Second, her religion is false. Third, her life is a moral mess. She has been married five times and now is sleeping with someone not her husband. It was taboo for Jews to talk with Samaritan women, but Jesus knew the difference between the law of God and cultural taboos. He disregards the taboo and says to her “give me a drink.”

 The woman is utterly surprised. She says “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?”

 The answer is that a new day has dawned in God’s dealings with the world. The gospel of Jesus Christ is going out to the nations. He is there to bring that good news. And the walls of separation will soon be broken down through his death and resurrection. The people of God are no longer ethnically identified. The gospel is for the ethnoi, that is, for the nations.

 But this raises questions. Do you as a believer have reasons for avoiding people, based on ethnicity? Jesus’ fellow Jews did, but not Jesus himself. So let us follow the savior’s lead. Do not let social distinctions stop you from talking to a Samaritan, figuratively speaking. Do you know someone whose life is a moral mess? Well we sing that Jesus is a friend of sinners, are we? And if we aren’t, then why not? Do we care about their souls? Have we lost our first love? When the Ephesian church lost their first love, Christ called them to repent and return to the first works. And what were these first works. Well Acts 19:10tells us: This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.

 May God give us a pure and passionate love for Christ the leads us to seek those who don’t know and try to win them for Christ.


Author: Tracy Gruggett

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