I need to go through Samaria

But He needed to go through Samaria.” John 4:4

One of my favorite evangelistic encounters in the Bible is when Jesus went to Samaria to visit a hurting woman at a well of water (John 4:1-26). Jesus left Judea to avoid trouble with the religious leaders (4:1-3). Instead of going the normal route that Jews take around Samaria by crossing the Jordan River, traveling north, and then crossing the Jordan into Galilee, He went straight north into Samaria (4:4). Such a course was direct and shorter, but Jews did not go that way because they hated Samaritans.

The reason “Jews have no dealings with Samaritans” is because they were racially mixed (4:9). When Assyria conquered the Northern Kingdom 700 years before Christ, many of the Jews were exported, and many foreigners were imported. The Jews who stayed and the Gentiles who came intermarried. The offspring were half-breeds called Samaritans. The Jews hated them and would have nothing to do with them.

But Jesus “needed to go to Samaria” (4:4). He was compelled to go to Samaria. Why did Jesus have to go through Samaria when the alternate route was available? Because He had a divine appointment with a hurting woman whom God would eventually use to transform an entire community (4:28-30). Christ was willing to cross over the barriers of prejudice to love on her and give her living water the moment she believed in Him (4:10-26). 

When I was a college freshman at a religious college in Ohio, God crossed over man-made barriers to present His life-giving gospel message to me. I was very discouraged at the time because of a knee injury playing college football a few months earlier. My dream of playing professional football was crushed, and I had no idea what my purpose in life would be without football. But on a Monday in February of 1979, God sent two-time Heisman Trophy winner and professional football player Archie Griffin to our college to share the good news of Jesus with us. His coming was God’s gift to our school. After hearing Archie’s testimony that night, I transferred all my trust onto Jesus’ and His sufficient sacrifice for my sins to receive His gift of everlasting life and forgiveness. My life has never been the same.

The Lord Jesus was willing to cross over social and religious barriers at our school to present His message of eternal life as a free gift to me through His servant. Oh, how I praise Him for needing to go to my school that night! I exalt Him for crossing over man-made barriers to save undeserving sinners like me.

Who represents your Samaria? One way to find out is to ask yourself, “Who do I dislike the most? Who do I try to avoid the most?” Are we willing to do whatever it takes to reach people that no one else wants to reach? That person at work or in our neighborhood that is the subject of jokes and gossip? That person whose values and lifestyle are the opposite of our own? The person who has so many problems and needs that the only thing they can give you is a list of complaints? Ask the Lord to show you who represents your Samaria. Then surrender to His will.

With the coronavirus causing people to be separated or even isolated from others, there are many people like the woman at the well who are hurting and in need of the gracious and loving touch of the Lord Jesus Christ. Are we willing to cross over man-made barriers to share Jesus’ life-giving message with them? You do not have to go to them physically, but you can go to them online through an email, a facebook post, a tweet, a video call, or through a phone call or written letter. Ask the Lord to show you whom He wants you to contact with a message of hope and love through the Lord Jesus Christ. He loves to answer that prayer.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for loving me so much that You were willing to cross over man-made barriers to share Your life-giving gospel message with me through Your servant, Archie Griffin. At that moment of faith in You alone, my sins were all forgiven and I received life everlasting! As I grow closer to You, I am seeing people more as You do – as those You love and want to save regardless of their culture, color of skin, or country, or health. I surrender all to You my Lord and Savior. Please lead me to my Samaria – to those people no one else wants to reach with Your gospel message. I pray for Your boldness, clarity, and compassion as I communicate Your life-giving message with those You have prepared to hear and believe. In Jesus’ name. Amen.