Before you read this, please take a moment to read John 4:4-26.
Popular belief holds that Jews typically traveled around Samaria. Apparently, there was some bad blood. John 4:9 states, “For Jews did not associate with the Samaritans.” However, John 4:4 tells us that Jesus “had to go through Samaria.” Some say He had to travel through Samaria because He knew He would meet the well-known “woman at the well.” Others say that Jews didn’t always avoid Samaria, so He happened upon her. Regardless of whether or not He knew the woman would be there, a part of Jesus’s personality was revealed to me.
Jesus did not avoid the uncomfortable.
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. From a time-efficiency standpoint, would it really have made sense for Jesus to Cross the Jordan River twice to avoid a potential conflict? See the map. “Emotionally,” would it have been “easier” not to deal with the discomfort of the Samaritans? Sure. But He didn’t have time to waste, so why would He have done the comfortable thing?
How often do we do this? Literally, we avoid areas of town, stores, or even CHURCH because we’re afraid of running into someone and it being uncomfortable.
On Jesus’s way through Samaria, He stopped at a well. He DID end up interacting with a Samaritan, a woman, nonetheless. Talk about uncomfortable for Him and her. The woman was going to the well in the middle of the day, when other women were not there, only to find a man there now asking her to give him some water. Jesus could have just sat at the well and left her alone, but He felt the heart of His Father for her. Samaritan or not, Jesus knew that God the Father loved her, so He did not avoid her.
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Do we avoid people because they’re different? Maybe they’re not of the same race, social standing, or even religion. Do we not make friends with or avoid them, forgetting that God so loved THE WORLD (not just Christians) that He gave His Son?
Not only did Jesus speak to a Samaritan woman, but He also spoke to one that had been divorced FIVE times and was now living in adultery/fornication with a SIXTH man. WHEW. That’s heavy stuff. Would it have been easier not to say anything to the woman about the fact that she was living in sin? Probably. I believe the Holy Spirit had given Jesus insight into the woman’s life, but not to condemn her. He didn’t go in with “you’re a wicked sinner.” He was kind and gracious, and it was out of complete love that He confronted her sin. But he did NOT avoid the truth.
What about us? Do we avoid the right thing because it’s not comfortable? Do we avoid issues and talk behind people’s backs? Or do we confront things head-on with love and grace?
Jesus did not avoid the uncomfortable. He was laser-focused, and the quickest path between two points was a straight line through Samaria. He didn’t avoid the woman, and He didn’t avoid her sin. Neither should we. We shouldn’t because we don’t know when we will take our last breath.
With as much love and grace as I can muster, I challenge you to deal with whatever uncomfortable thing you face today. Jesus didn’t avoid the uncomfortable, and neither should we as His followers!