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Jesus healed divisions with neighboring people

April 26, 2024

Daily Scripture

John 4:4-15, 39-42

4 Jesus had to go through Samaria. 5 He came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, which was near the land Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there. Jesus was tired from his journey, so he sat down at the well. It was about noon.
7 A Samaritan woman came to the well to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me some water to drink.” 8 His disciples had gone into the city to buy him some food.
9 The Samaritan woman asked, “Why do you, a Jewish man, ask for something to drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (Jews and Samaritans didn’t associate with each other.)
10 Jesus responded, “If you recognized God’s gift and who is saying to you, ‘Give me some water to drink,’ you would be asking him and he would give you living water.”
11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you don’t have a bucket and the well is deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 You aren’t greater than our father Jacob, are you? He gave this well to us, and he drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks from the water that I will give will never be thirsty again. The water that I give will become in those who drink it a spring of water that bubbles up into eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will never be thirsty and will never need to come here to draw water!”

39 Many Samaritans in that city believed in Jesus because of the woman’s word when she testified, “He told me everything I’ve ever done.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 Many more believed because of his word, 42 and they said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this one is truly the savior of the world.”

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Hatred and distrust between Israelites and next-door Samaritans went back over 500 years, to Israel’s return from exile in Babylon (cf. Ezra 4:1-5). Yet, as in today’s reading, Jesus regularly and repeatedly treated Samaritans with respect and compassion (cf. e.g. Luke 10:25-37, 17:11-19). And his actions were not an isolated, “one shot” event only he could carry out. He made that clear by commissioning his followers to reach out to the whole world (cf., Matthew 28:18-20).

  • Today’s reading taught two vital lessons. It bore witness to God’s clear longing for peace among all God’s children. And it pointed to the life-giving, soul-cleansing, peace-making, world-changing water that bubbles out from the one who made us; the thirst-quenching inner spiritual water that gives eternal life. Where in your daily living do you see prejudice? Are you willing to bear witness to God’s work by deliberately going out of your way to confront the prejudice you see?

  • As Jesus’ ordered (cf., Acts 1:7-8), the apostle Phillip preached in Samaria. If any doubt was left (and it was), the Holy Spirit showed that God accepted Samaritans like everyone else (cf., Acts 8:4-8, 14-17). Later, Peter baptized Roman soldiers, and told upset Christians, “If God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, then who am I? Could I stand in God’s way?” (Acts 11:17) Can you welcome anyone from anywhere who wants to be part of God’s human family?


Lord God, you made many different trees, flowers, birds, and horses. Forgive me for ever sinfully imagining that somehow you only made and loved humans who were a lot like me. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe serves as a Couples Small Group co-leader & Men's Group Leader, while volunteering in a variety of other capacities at Resurrection. He and his wife, Doris, first met in a Resurrection Single Adult Sunday School class in 1997 and were married in what is now the Student Center. They are empty nesters with 2 college-aged sons, Matthew and Jacob.

This is one of my favorite scenes in the Bible because it has so many surprises & plot twists. (For carpal tunnel purposes, we’ll name the woman in our story “Brooke,” as opposed to the clunky phrase “woman at the well.”) Let’s jump right in:

Jesus is traveling through Samaria. Whoa! This goes against all known Jewish habits & traditions. The rift between Samaritans & Jews is documented in 2 Kings when the northern kingdom (Samaritan’s ancestors) deviated from the true faith & assimilated with the culture. The Samaritans believed that the Jewish Bible only contained the Torah, the 1st 5 books of the Bible, & excluded the books of the prophets. The Samaritans even built their own temple on Mount Gerizim contending it was the true place to worship God–not Jerusalem. Because of these differing beliefs, the Jews viewed Samaritans with utter contempt.

Aside: We can easily imagine the taunts back & forth between the 2 groups: If it weren’t for origami, his diploma wouldn’t have any use at all.

Shockingly, Jesus not only speaks to Brooke, a Samaritan, but a female Samaritan with a questionable past. A proper Jewish Rabbi would never speak in public to some unknown woman & talking with a woman of some negative repute would have been even more scandalous.

When this Jewish Rabbi asks for a drink of water, Brooke’s proper response should have been to mock Him for inexplicably traveling without means to gather water & then walk away. To even think of engaging in a conversation with this Jew would be considered bizarre.

            Aside: The longest book he’s ever read was his CVS receipt.

Jesus then discusses the idea of “living water.” Brooke should have shut the conversation down right here. Why bother wasting time conversing with an enemy of your people? However, Brooke poses a loaded theological question back to Jesus regarding the proper place to worship God, which she knew was a topic of great dispute between Jews & Samaritans. Jesus’ response is that the place of worship isn’t important, but rather the key is to worship in spirit & truth. His answer would have infuriated His fellow Jews & stunned Brooke. His explanation seems to indicate that this centuries-long estrangement between the Samaritans & Jews was of little importance to Him or to a true faith in God.

            Aside:  He’s the kind of guy who crams for a urine test.

Goodness. Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be to have held a grudge for so many years & ultimately discover it was of trifling significance to God? Thank heavens in our sophisticated, well-educated age we don’t hold onto bitter rivalries & view “others” with contempt & occasional outright hatred. Right? Well, m-a-y-b-e we do have our own adversaries or disputes that are getting in the way of a life well lived. Sadly, we can all rattle off a quick list of intense debates/disagreements in our current age:

Apple users vs. Android users, Beatles fans vs. Rolling Stones fans, Marriott Rewards Members vs. Hilton Rewards Members, people who build campfires in a teepee formation vs. log cabin formation, those who type “L.O.L.” vs. those who use the “HaHa” emoji, those who wear their baseball caps forward vs. those who wear them backwards, those who prefer Mary Ann vs. Ginger, those who are fans of the beagle breed vs. those who haven’t yet realized how awesome beagles are, those who can type with their thumbs vs. those who type with their index finger, & fans of short, succinct lists vs. fans of lists that belabor the point.

Of course, debates/disputes can quietly seethe even within our own households: those who like to sleep with the windows open vs. windows closed, those who meticulously plan a trip vs. those who are spontaneous, those who carry an umbrella on a stormy day vs. those who roll-the-dice, those who want to park close to the church door vs. those who opt for a parking spot with an easy exit, action/adventure movie fans vs. Hallmark movie fans, & those who like to account for every penny vs. those who say, “meh, close enough.”

Reviewing this list, I realize that if I fanatically socialize only with people who agree with me 100% of the time on 100% of the issues near & dear to my heart, my circle of acquaintances would be down to one–only me. (Well, maybe three, if you count our beagles, Daisy Doo & Susie Q.)

So, what are we to do? What if we modeled our behavior after Jesus & His friend Brooke? 

  • What if we set aside our rivalry & just tried to start a dialogue with some friendly banter to build a relationship? We could open with something easy like, “Man, that Patrick Mahomes is awesome.” (Tip: Don’t use this gambit with a neighbor who recently moved from Denver.)
  • Ala Brooke, we could offer assistance to a neighbor, like offering to help carry some bags of mulch to the backyard or taking over some homemade cookies.
  • Or, like Brooke, we could get in the habit of actually listening to the other person instead of mentally preparing our rebuttal to whatever is being said.

Brooke broke free from her biases & prejudices of what “they” thought & how “they” acted & her life was forever changed. Perhaps we could consider our own list of “others” & go & do likewise.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a trip coming up next week & I need to start packing. (LOL – Editor.)

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.