Thursday, March 31, 2011

Avoiding Samaria

It is significant that Jesus travelled through Samaria (John 4).  The Jews—that would have included His disciples— hated Samaritans. The Samaritans were a mixed racial group—part Jewish and part ‘everything else.’ Seven hundred years earlier, the region called Samaria had been Israel’s Northern kingdom. And when it was taken over by the Babylonians, it was infiltrated with immigrants from other countries—resulting in an ethnic-mix despised by the pure-bred Jews. When the His disciples saw Jesus speaking to a Samaritan woman of questionable character—even drinking from the same cup— they were horrified.

I couldn’t help seeing the pun: “Samaria” is pronounced “some area.” Are we not like Jesus’ Disciples? Are there not “some areas” in our world of issues and relationships that we avoid, ignore, walk around—anything to keep from speaking to the problem? As a counselor, I have learned that people usually avoid dealing with things because they just don’t know what to do about them. Obviously, the disciples didn’t know how to forgive, or to love unconditionally, or value all people as Jesus did.

But we do. Or at least, we’re learning to. I think our own “Samaria-avoidance” just means we haven’t fully understood the heart of Jesus yet. Ask the Lord today if you’ve been avoiding “Samaria.”

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