THE WOMAN OF SAMARIA
-The First Missionary-
The Samarian woman, the first missionary, lived in Sychar, Samaria. Jewish people avoided talking and associating with this race of people who lived in Samaria. Even the country was avoided by Jews crossing the Jordan River and traveling along the eastern side to get to Galilee. They had no dealings with each other, there was always increaded hositility between the two nations.
Jews refused to recognize Samaritans because they were a mixed race of Jews and Assyrians.The Northern Kingdom of Israel was defeated under the hand of the Assyrian King in 722 B.C. Many were taken to exile and some stayed behind, but there was an inflow of foreigners from Assyria, who intermarried with the northern Israeli inhabitants. This left the north of the nation, a mixed race, to set up an alternative place to worship The God of their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It became a rival religion, to the Jews and The Temple in Jerusalem. For this reason the Jews of Judea did not consider this race to be pure descendants of Abraham so they refused to acknowledge them, especially teachers of the Law, and of Religion did not speak to a woman in public, whether in Samaria or Judea.
Jesus' disciples were baptizing more followers than John, The Baptist, and this began to cause concern for the Pharisees, (Jewish Teachers of The Law), so Jesus decided to leave for Galilee, for the Religious Teachers were responsible politically to the Roman Government to keep their people controlled.
Jesus traveled through the Samarian country on his way to Galilee, which was at at the north of Samaria, and spoke to a woman who was drawing water from Jacob's Well, (Jacob being one of the important ancestors to the Israelites). She was alone and it was unusual for a woman to be drawing water from the Well at noon instead of in the cool of the morning or by the fresh breeze at evening.
The people of the town knew of her reputation, of living with a man who was not her husband, and she would have been condemned by the society for that. She had also had five husbands, which may have resulted in divorce, or death of each husband that might by Religious Law have caused her to marry the next of kin to retain family property. But by living openly with a man who was not her husband, she would have been shunned because of her lack of modesty.
The woman would have known by Jesus' clothes and nature immediately that she was talking to a Jewish man. He asked her for a drink of water, which surprised her, who granted his request, impolitely, and very puzzled that a Jew would even handle a drinking vessel touched by a Samaritan. Jews thought they would become ceremonially unclean, and Jesus' disciples were very surprised that he would take such a degrading action. The Jewish Teachers 'preferred to have the sciptures burned than speak to a woman in public'. Jesus did not hold her current sin against her. He was concerned for her spiritual condition more than her earthly condition, for she knew The Law of Moses concerning morality.
Jesus explained to the woman that if she would drink 'living water' of The Holy Spirit He could give her Eternal Life. She wanted what Jesus had offered her. She knew He was someone greater than their ancestor Jacob.
He knew all about her past and present and told her her life was laid bare before Him. She did not lie to Jesus about her current situation, she told him the truth. She had perceived that Jesus was a prophet from God, this amazed the woman, and caused her to ask questions about the Jews and the Samaritans and she spoke of how she was awaiting The Messiah, and that He would have all the answers to her questions.
Jesus declared to her , "I, who speak to you, am He".
Jesus explained how it is not where you worship, but how you worship, in Spirit and in Truth, for God is Spirit. God is not limited to one location or nation, the whole Universe is His and He preserves it all. But that Salvation comes to the world from The Jewish Race. The name, Messiah did not cause political overtones in Samaria and in Judea.
She acknowledged by The Holy Spirit that He was truly The Messiah that for both the Smaritians and the Jewish race had long awaited. The woman went back to the town and told the people about Jesus, who knew she had married five husbands and also that the man she was now living with was not her husband, and urged them to come and meet Jesus, The Christ. Her life was transformed by her contact with Jesus, which happened to those whom Jesus met, who were sincere and willing to be yielded to God.
The woman was prepared to tell the Truth of Christ, no matter what the townspeople may have thought of her as a failure or sinful, she did not make any excuses not to witness to the people of the town. She immediately shared her experience with Christ. The people believed the earnesty of her witness and testimony, came out of the town and made their way to Jesus to see and hear for themselves.
Jesus knew the people were ready to ' harvest by the seed sown' by the woman He had spoken to at Jacob's Well. The people requested Jesus to stay with them and teach them more, He did, for two days and during this time many came to believe who He was. They told the woman who witnessed to them it was not only because of what they heard but by what they knew in themselves to be true. They had accepted him as Their Saviour.
The Woman of Samaria was the first missionary by the facts; she led many in her township to Christ, their Saviour; she was a foreigner, outside of Judea. In Judea, many had already heard of Him as the King of Israel, as he was called by one of His disciples, when he first met Jesus. She was truly a privileged woman, for Christ confessed to her that He indeed was The Messiah.
She has prominence above many for she did not seek him outwardly and He usually waited until His gifts were sought. He offered the woman Eternal Life.At Jacob's Well, she saw Jacob's Star. (Numbers 24:17) and She saw Jacob's Ladder, The One and Only Way to God, The Father.
Christ is the Deliverer and Saviour for every person, no matter what race, social position or past sins. God is above all prejudices.
"I will give to the thirsty, the springs of The Water of Life- as a gift". Revelation 21:6.
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