Jesus left Judea and started back to Galilee. But He had to go through Samaria. John 4:3–4
There were two routes by which an individual could make passage between Judea and Galilee, and only one required traveling through Samaria. In fact, the Samarian highway was notoriously dangerous, and people avoided traveling that route if at all possible. The assertion the Jesus “had to” go through Samaria on his way to Galilee is not geographically accurate, which suggests that it may have been theologically essential. Jesus was drawn by God to go to the land of the Samaritans, those people long despised by the Judean Jews, to demonstrate God’s all-inclusive love for people. To do the will of God, Jesus “had to” cross a line most Jews we unwilling to even approach.
Sitting by Jacob’s well in Samaria, Jesus broke through shocking barriers. He entered a region of Palestine viewed as ritually unclean; He spoke alone with a woman, which was socially unacceptable; and the woman with whom He spoke was of questionable moral standing. Jesus made a habit of going where others refused to go, speaking with people others walked past without taking notice, and keeping company with people with whom Jews refused to associate. To follow in Jesus’ example means to cross lines that separate people from one another so that God’s family might be united in friendship, fellowship, and love.
What line do you need to cross today?
Lord, I spend far too much time trying to do what is perceived as socially appropriate and acceptable. I live within the lines, I live within cultural norms, I live within social structures that are comfortable to me. When I read of Your life and ministry, however, I see you continually crossing lines to engage in relationship. What would my life be if You had not crossed over into it? What imaginary lines should I cross? In Your name, I pray. AMEN.