Let’s read that verse: “Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, ‘How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?’ For the Jews have no dealings with Samaritans” (NKJV). In order to understand the hatred the Jews had for the Samaritans, we will look at a few verses in 2nd Kings Chapter 17. Verse 24 says, “Then the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Ave, Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and PLACED THEM IN THE CITIES OF SAMARIA INSTEAD OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL; and they took possession of Samaria and dwelt in its cities.” The Jews had been conquered by the Assyrians and besides spoiling the Jewish cities they decided to populate them with foreigners. What were these foreigners like? Verse 25 supplies the answer: “And it was so, at the beginning of their dwelling there, that THEY DID NOT FEAR THE LORD.” Their lack of fear for the Lord was manifested in verse 29, “However every nation continued to make gods of its own, and put them in the shrines on the high places which the Samaritans had made.” Their idolatry was so wicked that we read in verse 32 that they “burned their children in fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepaharvites.” What really made matters worse was that they also pretended to serve the LORD but it was all a sham, as we see in verse 34: “To this day they continue practicing the former rituals, they do not fear the LORD, nor do they follow their statures or their ordinances, or the law and commandment which the LORD had commanded the children of Jacob, whom He named Israel.” Eventually they set up a temple in opposition to the Jews in Mount Gerizim. The Lord Jesus referred to this place in John 4:21 when He said to the Samaritan woman, “The hour is coming when you will neither worship ON THIS MOUNTAIN, nor in Jerusalem.” So, the Samaritans, who intermarried among the Jews, were looked upon as a mongrel race that practiced two religions: Judaism and Heathenism. In effect they were simply heathen idolaters. Is it any wonder that the Jews would be biased towards them?

With this background in mind isn’t it marvelous that we read in John 4:3-4: “He [the Lord Jesus] left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But He needed to go through Samaria.” Samaria was right in the middle of Judea and Galilee and any other Jew would have gone around Samaria to avoid being defiled by association with the Samaritans. Why did Jesus NEED to go through Samaria? Ah, it was because He knew there was a lost soul there that He was going to draw to Himself for salvation! Jesus had not only come to save the Jews, but anyone who would be made to feel their need of a Savior and then put their trust in Him. You can read the marvelous story of His dealings with this precious soul in verse 5-30 and of how she not only came to see that Jesus was the Christ, but she became an evangelist to her fellow Samaritans and many more came to believe on Christ as the Savior of the world.

In closing, is there a lesson for us in this? I believe there is. We too should be willing to go wherever there is a soul in need of salvation and not allow any previous biases to hinder us from giving them the word of life.  (214.3)  (DO)