The Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well, when she encountered Jesus, who was sitting at the well. Jesus took the initiative to begin conversation and establish a relationship by asking her, “Will you give me a drink” (John 4:7-9). This statement of Jesus was shocking to the woman who considered herself inferior as she belonged to a low social order in society. The woman was part of the society where life was lived in public, and she existed on the margins of her community-labelled by all as a sinner (v. 18). She had lived with five husbands in succession and the man she was living with was not her husband (v.17). Jesus accepted her the way she was.
The encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman is an illustrious example that God never divides people according to behaviour, background, ethnic or racial traits. That was never the way of Christ. Samaria today may be viewed as a metaphor for the ever increasing political, economic, cultural and religious boundaries we create to exclude people. Our differences, instead of building bridges to bless others, have divided us. We seemingly feel secure in the narrow wells of our creation. These wells portray our suspicious and selfish behaviour that refuses to nurture and enrich others.
The woman was transformed by her encounter with Jesus. She no longer despised or stained her identity as an impure person. Nevertheless, she took a tremendous risk. She returned to her town and started talking about Jesus. Amazingly, the town people listened and responded. When people who have struggled with morality and identity crisis meet Christ, their words influence others.
The woman was given what she most needed – acceptance, forgiveness and a new life. We have the responsibility to break down barriers based on race, gender, religion and other differences. Let us accept others like Jesus did.