You are joining in the middle of a series of posts with excerpts from my book, “Who Do You Think You Are?” focusing on Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the water well (John 4:1-30).
Read the first post >> Entry #1
Read the second post >> Entry #2
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The culture came head-to-head with Christ’s behavior. Consider the ways this encounter was so radical, and how many man-made rules He broke. Most striking, rabbinical law stated that Samaritan women were considered unclean. Jesus rejected this Jewish teaching by reaching out to a mixed-race female (that’s two strikes against her), AND whose morality was in question. It would never cross the mind of any “good Jew” to treat this person as a fellow human being.
Secondly, a godly Jewish man, let alone a rabbi (teacher), was not to speak to a woman in public. Men simply did not speak to women in public. In fact, a husband would not even address his wife if he saw her on the street! Yet Jesus, a revered rabbi, willingly initiates conversation with this down-and-out, mixed-race female at one of the village’s social hot spots.
Thirdly, religious segregation was standard for both women and Samaritans. Not only would a Jewish man never drink from a woman’s cup, a rabbi would never even associate with a “sinner.” Think now about how Jesus opened his conversation with the Samaritan woman by asking to have a drink from her cup! This surely alarmed her. He asked to drink from the cup of a woman viewed by the culture to be in a constant state of uncleanness. That’s radical! His request would have been like a white man drinking from a fountain marked “colored only” in Alabama in the 1950s. But here, Jesus Christ Himself not only asks for a drink, He engages in a lengthy conversation with, a woman “sinner” … in public.
Check back here for the next post with more from “Who Do You Think You Are?”