“When the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (though Jesus didn’t baptize but his disciples). He leaves Judea and departed again into Galilee.
Yet it was binding for him to be passing through Samaria.”
Jesus and his disciples are in the Judean wilderness. Jesus finds out that the Pharisees have heard that he is baptising more people than John.
He leaves Judea and departs for Galilee.
I wonder how this journey is seen from the perspective of Jesus disciples?
At first, they must have felt like this was like any other journey from Jerusalem to Galilee. A small stop off in the Judean wilderness, but the same journey from A to B.
I imagine that Jesus tells his disciples that they are leaving for Galilee. They pack up, and they start on their way.
But at a certain point, the disciples begin to talk amongst themselves. “He’s going the wrong way. We better tell him.”
Now, bearing in mind that last time we learnt that Jews didn’t travel through Samaria, but went “East of the River Jordan through Peraea because of their hatred for the Samaritans,” we can guess that Jesus was doing something that was outside of his disciples comfort zone.
You see, it wasn’t just Jesus who was going out of his way. It was his disciples too. They would have known that Jews never ventured into Samaria. They would have known the route that Jews took to avoid Samaria. They would probably have taken that route on numerous occasions.
But the disciples of Jesus were also expected to go out of their way.
This was monumental for them, way outside of what they knew and were comfortable with. Way outside of their cultural expectation, their past experience, their history. Way outside of the done thing.
Perhaps his disciples reminded him why he was taking the wrong route. Perhaps they insisted he take the usual route. I also imagine Jesus saying, “I must pass through Samaria! Are you coming too?”
I wonder if he knew why. I wonder if when the disciples asked him, he could only say, “I only do what I see my Father doing. My Father is passing through Samaria, and I am passing through Samaria.”
Eventually he is weary from his journey, and he sits down at a well and waits.
His disciples now have to go and find food from a people who dislike Jews as equally as the Jews disliked the Samaritan’s.
No wonder the woman was amazed that Jesus spoke with her! This wasn’t just a little disagreement, and that the two nations weren’t talking to one another. This was a deep seated hatred between two nations. No wonder Jesus offended people when he told stories such as the Good Samaritan!
Jesus was breaking down the walls of hatred and prejudice in his disciples, and in the woman. He was going out of his way to show just how far the Father will go to meet the one person. How far he will go to demonstrate that he cares for the one.
The woman asks the people from her town, “Could he be the One?”
Only the One would consider going so far out of his way, so against the cultural norms, the history, the hatred and prejudice.
Jesus says to us today,
“I must pass through Samaria. Are you coming too?”
Eat the Bread, drink the Living Water. Let Jesus go out of his way to sit at the well, and wait for the one.