Read: John 4:19-29
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” 25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” 27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” 28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” (NIV John 4:19-29)
Study: Jesus met a person with three strikes against her in the eyes of the religious leaders of his day: a) she was a Samaritan, b) she was a woman, c) she’d had multiple husbands. To his disciples’ surprise, he treated her as valuable. In fact, verses 28-29 show her as the first “preacher,” the first witness to Jesus in John’s gospel! Jesus needed his disciples to know that human prejudices or boundaries did not limit his kingdom. For what reasons were Jesus’ disciples surprised when they found Jesus talking with this woman? In what ways did they not recognize her value? Who do you know who is like the Samaritan woman? Do you tend to look right past those people because they are unlikely or unsuitable candidates for God’s kingdom? How can you better engage with people like this woman who are already members of your congregation?
Pray: Holy God, open my eyes so that I can see others the way you see them. I pray that I never limit who is welcome in your Kingdom. Amen.