ICE BREAKER: What is your favorite type of food? Least favorite?
READ: John 4:1-46
In this famous story Jesus breaks pretty much all the rules. No, he didn’t sin. He just broke all the conventional and societal rules about who can and should talk to who. It is good for us to think about this. Jesus was a Jew and Jews didn’t interact or talk to Samaritans. In fact, even if it meant adding days to your journey, a Jewish person would often add those days just to avoid Samaria. Jesus was a man. He wasn’t supposed to talk to women. Especially not women such as this one. She was known around town. No good came from talking to her. It was no coincidence that she got her water in the middle of the day when it was hot and no one else was around. We live in a time where we see cultures clashing all the time. We see racism and violence and people crying out over the injustice. However, what palestine in the time of Jesus looked like was far worse than what we face today. Yet Jesus is willing to break those cultural boundaries. As Pastor said on Sunday, he cared enough to engage their culture . This really does become the difference. He cared for this woman, even if she was a Samaritan. He cared for her even though she didn’t have the best reputation (as a note: it wasn’t just her reputation, she lived down to that reputation…) The key is that he cared for her as a person created in the image of God.
REFLECT: How can caring help us to break through cultural boundaries? What does it mean or look like to care for people in a culture that is different from yours?
Jesus shows us that the Gospel can and does apply to all people everywhere. Jews, Gentiles, Samaritans, EVERYONE is in need of a perfect savior! But what is amazing about this story is the impact that Jesus had on many, because of his care for one person. We are called to reach everyone. The great commision says “go therefore and make disciples of all nations ”. That is a high and difficult calling. We think that it is impossible. And while it is a lofty and impossible goal, the practical working out becomes this: I can’t love every person, but I can love one person. I may not be able to reach an entire nation, but I can love one person from it. Jesus showed love and compassion for one woman and the result is an entire town was reached. Just to review: “Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.” (John 4:39 ) It takes care for just one person. Though our ultimate goal is vast and unreachable we can reach a great many by sharing the love of Christ with just one!
REFLECT: Do you believe that it just takes reaching one person to reach many with the Gospel? Have you ever seen something like that happen? In what practical ways can you show the love of Christ with just one person? Who is one person that you can share the love of Christ with this week?