The Gospel of John | Day Four
By: Brittany Green | Crossing Boundaries
"I accepted Christ when I was six years old after VBS one day. Though I made this life-changing decision at a young age, I went through the motions throughout most of my elementary years--going to church, not getting into trouble, etc. However, when I was in the fifth grade, I opened up my Bible to a random page and started reading. Tears immediately flooded my eyes. It was the first time I really felt the Lord's presence! I re-dedicated my life to Christ that day.
Years later in high school, I surrounded myself with a group of friends who did not know Christ. And in the process, I struggled to find godly relationships--not only friendships, but also an unhealthy relationship with a guy I knew.
However, the summer after my sophomore year, I met one of my current friends at camp. We hit it off immediately! I felt I could trust her with my friendship + dating troubles and confided about feeling the Lord pulling me away from my current friendships + relationships. During the next school year, I ended up stepping away from my friend group and drew closer to people like my new friend--people who love Jesus!
Not only was that year a huge year of change for me, but a friend of mine decided to join me in seeking godly friendships. We all got involved in an on-campus teen girl Bible study where I served as a leader. Because of my new position, I felt convicted about growing in my relationship with the Lord before I ministered to others. I started reading my Bible everyday and I blossomed in my faith. I learned so much and deepened my relationship with the Lord and every other relationship in my life! Ultimately, as we draw near to the Lord, He draws near to us. Glory be to Him!"
It always stands out to me when Jesus interacts with women. Probably because I am a woman, probably because I tend to see a more emotional side to Jesus, and probably because it breaks all sorts of cultural standards. Jesus didn’t come to fit into the worldly culture. He came to give all people life.
So let’s look at how Jesus gives a woman life.
Read John 4:1-45.
Let’s talk about some cultural things that are going on here. Jesus is meeting a Samaritan woman. Today, living where we do, that wouldn’t seem odd. We meet people of cultures all the time. Men and women interact like it’s a normal occurrence. However at this time, in this place, Jesus is crossing huge social and cultural borders.
The Samaritans are a confusing bunch. The Jews and Samaritans have conflicting views of where they came from. The Jews claim that the Samaritans’ ancestors were foreigners transplanted into Palestine by Assyria back in 2 Kings 17:24-41, who embraced the Jewish faith while keeping some of their pagan religions. However, the Samaritans claim they come from a faithful remnant of Israelites that discarded the defilement of the Israelite faith when the place of worship was moved. Confusing. What you need to know is that most scholars hold that the Samaritans are a conservative form of Judaism that the original Jews hated.
Jews and Samaritans would have gone to great lengths to avoid interacting with each other. In John 4, Jesus is headed from Judea to Galilee. It was common for people to go between the two places, but most Jews would not have gone through Samaria to get there. They would have added a few hours or a day to their trip and gone around. However, Jesus sees these people and steps outside typical prejudices.
Jesus not only sees these people who have been thrown aside by the Jewish culture, but He sees and speaks to a woman. Women were not held in high regard in this time. Which stinks for us! But what we see over and over again is that Jesus elevates women and children. He places value on them. He came for people such as this woman at the well.
Jesus came for everyone. He came for women. He came for men. He came for foreigners and Jews alike. He came for the righteous and the unrighteous. He came for this shady woman. And He came for you, wherever you’re at. He has come to redeem you. He sees you and loves you.
Do you believe that? Do you live that?
And then what happens to the woman? God uses her to spread the news of the Gospel throughout her entire town. He uses a woman.
So what do we do with this? First, we understand that Jesus does not look at the boundaries put on us and others by society. We live in the truth that Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost, to restore His people back to Himself.
Secondly, we live in the reality that God is using you. God uses His people, and it’s a beautiful thing. He is using you to show others that Jesus came to all people. He has you in a unique place for the sole purpose of reaching those around you. No other person is in the sports, band, choir, gymnastics, and friend group, etc. that you are in. Whether you believe it or not, you interact with people uniquely than anyone else. So don’t waste it. Be used by your Creator to do His work. The woman at the well did not keep this special conversation to herself, although it would have been easy to hold on to the extraordinary experience. No, she immediately told anyone who would listen. And she didn’t care that she had a bad reputation. Her pain and struggle actually enhanced God’s purposes because she realized His grace.
So what do you need to do with this story today, in your own life?