John 4 tells one of my favorite stories in the Bible. I think I say every story is my favorite! Jesus was traveling back to Galilee from Judea. To get there He had to go through Samaria, specifically a town called Sychar. This is the location of Jacob’s well. While in Israel, we had a chance to visit this magnificent location. Jesus was near a well to draw water. Perhaps He was thirsty. Maybe He was just waiting for someone to come. While He was there by himself, a woman came to draw water for herself. Jesus asks her to draw Him some water, which is fascinating. The women was a Samaritan woman and a good Jewish man would never interact with a Samaritan, especially a Samaritan woman. But notice there is no hesitation or concern with the differences in these two. In fact, Jesus tells her if you knew who I was you would be asking me! Confused, the woman says how can you give me something? Jesus had no pail, bucket or cup. As the conversation over water continues, she realizes that her and Jesus have some differences. Some things that Jesus does not agree with or support.
The lesson in this story is the water of life, the spring of life that Jesus can offer. But there is another. Jesus still loved this woman and asked her for help! Just think about this for a moment. The differences that existed between them never caused either of them to run or hide from another. It drew them closer. It made her want to be around Jesus. It made Jesus want to be around her. How magnificent!
I wonder how often we miss these chances for encounters, a draw from the well perhaps, because we see the differences. We focus on the things that separate us rather than the things that draw us. We have an opportunity any time we are out in public to find those who are different and interact. We are called, as Christ followers, to be people who ask those different than us for a cup of water. We are called, as Christ followers, to be people who offer drinks of water to those different than us.
We are people who like to find the faults and differences. We want to find reasons not to like people or agree with them. We want to find reasons to draw a line in the sand and tell them you stay on your side and I will stay on mine. That is the sinful nature in us. It is the lack of the Spirit in our life. But Jesus didn’t do that. Instead, He loved her. He cared for her. He asked for a drink. A few verses down the woman goes and tells everyone about the Messiah! It says in Scripture than many Samaritans believed because of her testimony. Imagine if we took the time to care instead of finding the time to divide. Sometimes, with some issues we need to take a stand. But we can always find the things that make us alike. We can always find the common ground. We, as Christ followers, can always look to the Lord and ask Him to use us even with those who are different than us. Look to the source of the well and find life!
— Clint McBroom is pastor at the First Church of God of Newton.