If He had taken the long way, would she have known she was seen? If He had followed cultural norms and expectations—’our people don’t go there’—would she have believed? If He had feared how He might be received as He walked through the territory in which He was not welcome, would He have even conversed with her?
When Jesus chose to walk through Samaria en route to Galilee, He wasn’t just busting through cultural norms as He often did, He was choosing the better way.
In those times, Jews would often avoid Samaria to such a degree that they would walk seven or more days around the region, rather than the three it took to go straight through. But Jesus walked right through and met a scandalous woman at a well at midday. In fact, He had the longest recorded personal conversation between Him and any human—with that woman. The woman society had cast off because, well, her choices were less than upstanding.
As these facts lingered in my mind while I read through John 4, I could sense the nudging of the Holy Spirit. It was as if He was asking me: What’s your Samaria? What are you walking around? What are you trying to avoid?
And just like that, He brought a group of women to mind. Women I had written off as just another clique. And yet, to Him, they are beloved daughters, longing to be seen and known—just like me.
You see, Jesus saw the nameless woman at the well. But if He had taken the long way and avoided the hard place, He would have missed her.
He followed the Father’s leading and walked straight in.
What’s your Samaria? Who do you try to avoid at all costs? Is it the mom of one of your kid’s friends? Is it a coworker who, every time they pull together a project team, you pray you aren’t stuck with? Think about it a moment.
Father help us to see what you would call our Samaria and to humbly walk right in.