Jesus left Judea and started for Galilee again. This time he had to go through Samaria, and on his way he came to the town of Sychar...Jesus sat down... because he was tired from travelling. It was noon, and after Jesus' disciples had gone into town to buy some food, a Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well. Jesus asked her, “Would you please give me a drink of water?”
“You are a Jew,” she replied, “and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink of water when Jews and Samaritans won’t have anything to do with each other?” (John 4:3-9)
I am not going to use the same cup
A footnote to this passage reads as "'won’t have anything to do with each other', or 'won’t use the same cups'. The Samaritans lived in the land between Judea and Galilee. They worshipped God differently from the Jews and did not get along with them."
'Won’t use the same cups'. I can hear school kids here, and distinctions such as 'popular' kids and the 'geeks', oil and water that rarely mix. The obsessive, single-track, headdown nature of the geek is popularised in TV shows such as the Big Bang Theory. Whilst excelling in their own narrow disciplines these academics yearn to do more than bumble through social protocols they feel ill fit to mimic. I guess we all feel, at some time or other, out rather than in, and painful distinctions, created or perceived, based on qualification, origin, depth.
“You Samaritans don’t really know the one you worship. But we Jews do know the God we worship”. (Now here comes the startling statement, that can be read as ignorance or as knowledge) The woman said, “I know that the Messiah will come. He is the one we call Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” (v. 22-25)
Okay, where did that come from? Have I misjudged this person? Was Jesus taken aback by this confession, as he was surprised by the faith of the centurion? Even Jesus? He then rolled up his sleeves and drew out the indigenous spiritual truth that she had. It’s not a matter of Jerusalem or Gerizim (where the Samaritans worshipped), says Jesus. There is a faith journey that is true and authentic that passes through our own history, mind, psyche, outlook, genes, whether we be Samaritan or Jew, geek or popular. We, like this woman, are to own our own journey, the inward and the outward and allow it to be drawn out and harmonised by Jesus.
A lot of Samaritans in that town put their faith in Jesus because the woman had said, “This man told me everything I have ever done.” They came and asked him to stay in their town, and he stayed on for two days. (v. 39-40)
Is the place where you feel out rather than in, excluded rather than included really the barrier to faith and communion that you imagine? Jesus stayed with the Samaritans for two days, no barrier there.