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“Had To Go Through Samaria?”
It makes one wonder if John didn’t pause for a moment as he considered how he would give his readers insight into the event he was about to record. Now an older Spirit-inspired man he is writing the gospel that would bear his name. He has had many years to reflect upon his journey with Jesus, both the days he rubbed shoulders with him as His disciple, and the days he continued to live The Way after Jesus ascended. This Spirit-breathed reflection gave him amazing insight revealed in his writings. Now he comes to another of the unexpected surprising actions of Jesus and he simply records; Now He had to go through Samaria. (John 4:4)
Jesus had to go through Samaria? He was returning to Galilee from Judea. But did He have to go through Samaria? At first glance John’s words might suggest that there was no other way to get to Galilee from Judea than to go through Samaria. But this was not the case. It was probably the most direct route but it was not the most traveled route. The fact was that many would travel other routes to circumvent Samaria. They would go well out of their way to be sure they did not travel through Samaria. The fact is Jesus didn’t have to go through Samaria. Doing so was taboo and only done when absolutely necessary.
John is not revealing travel information here. He is revealing something about Jesus. Jesus had to go through Samaria for there were people there He loved and to whom He needed to minister, to touch, to transform. Jesus had to go through Samaria because there was a woman who needed a drink of the Living Water. There were townspeople that needed Jesus to stay for two days to teach them so they could hear the message that would bring them to belief and life: We no longer believe just because of what you [the woman who was once the outcast who was unwelcome at the usual collect water times] have said; now we have heard for ourselves and we know this man really is the Savior of the world. (John 4:42)
Jesus had to go through Samaria because His love and mission compelled Him to go. He did not skirt around to avoid encountering the disenfranchised, the outcasts, the broken, the unwanted, the … No, He came to go to them. He had to go through Samaria. And so must we. His love and mission is our love and mission. We are surrounded by Samaritans who need to drink of the Living Water and who need to hear for themselves the Good News so that they may believe and live. Just as Jesus had to go, so we His people have to go. It’s the Jesus Way.
Beloved it’s time for us to stop waiting for them to come to us. It’s time to stop trying to figure ways to entice them to come. It’s time for us to do it the Jesus way. Let’s go… We have to…
Keep Close to Jesus
Pastor Gerry

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