The conflict and tension between the Jews and Samaritans was centuries old before Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well.
Are there groups of people in your life who you have, consciously or unconsciously, chosen not to engage with? It might help to list the different kinds of people you have spoken to in the last month. Who’s not on that list? Could God be calling you to reach these people?
In this series, I’ll expand on a recent Go Magazine to explore 5 things we can learn from Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman in John 4.
#1 Do Something Unexpected
Culture told the Jews never to associate with a Samaritan. It was written into their sub-conscience over the centuries. The two groups did anything to stay out of each other’s way. Samaritans were classed as unclean and any contact with them came with great risks of impurity, gossip and immorality.
So in verse 7, when Jesus asks the woman for a drink, he goes beyond the expected boundary, making the first move to offer dignity and friendship, with humility and vulnerability. Actions like these can ‘break the ice’ and begin to build a meaningful relationship between two people.
Diwali is coming up in October - a festival of lights celebrated by Hindus. The expected response from a Christian to a Hindu celebrating Diwali might be to just ignore them and let them carry on without bother.
What if Christians decided to bless Hindus over Diwali? If you gave a gift to your Hindu neighbour with a note saying that you were praying blessing over them during Diwali, that just might be the unexpected action which leads to a meaningful friendship.
Unexpected good gestures show others that we’re willing to put cultural differences to one side in order to connect with them.
And connection is what it’s all about.
What unexpected action could you make to connect with someone today?
Check back for the second part of this series later this week
Dan Challis is Interserve’s Connections Co-ordinator and works to help Christians be envisioned, equipped and engaged with mission in Asia and the Arab World. He's a worship leader, keen cyclist, devoted husband and dad to an angel.