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What Can Separate You from Jesus?

Watch Session Four

Of all of the “water cooler conversations” we’ve had at work, none have ever resembled the one like Jesus and the Samaritan woman in John 4, have they?

The Samaritans were descendants of Israelites who had intermarried with local, nonJewish people and settled in the region that became known as Samaria. They were rejected by the Jews, both socially and spiritually.

What have we heard about the Samaritan woman? From our modern perspectives, we’ve assumed that she was an immoral woman who’d married and divorced five husbands. At the time she met Jesus, she was living with a sixth man, this time not even bothering to marry him. In order to accurately interpret this passage, we need to reconcile our modern connotations with the cultural realities of first-century living.

Women in the first-century Middle East did not experience the freedom that we women enjoy today. They were legally and socially treated as property with little power. It’s more likely that she had been widowed or divorced her several times. Living without the protection of a man could have been risky, both in terms of physical safety and financial security. Living with a man who was not her husband likely, then, implies that she was either his concubine or second wife in order to avoid poverty.

reconciled to reconcile

Looking at the woman through first-century eyes will help us see that her story was one of loss, pain, and shame. Enter Jesus, who broke down barriers to:

  • Cross a gender divide—he spoke to a woman while she was alone (John 4:7).
  • Cross a social divide—he, a Jewish man, spoke to a Samaritan woman (v. 9).
  • Cross a religious divide—he asked for water. The Samaritans were considered unclean. The water that she gave Jesus would have been considered unclean also. Jesus didn’t care (v. 9).

He then engaged this woman in a deep, theological discussion as if she were his equal. This was Jesus’s longest recorded conversation. We should take note of that. Jesus’s longest recorded conversation in the Bible is not with his disciples or with the religious leaders of the day. It is with someone whose gender and religious pedigree counted against her.

This intentional interaction illustrates something powerful and relevant to us. Jesus breaks societal rules and norms, refusing to let cultural constraints deter him from encounters with women who desperately need his presence.

But also consider this: The conversation at the well wasn’t just for this woman’s salvation alone. The encounter with Jesus brought God’s presence to the entire community (v. 29). They initially came because of the Samaritan woman’s testimony, but they stayed because of all the things they heard from Jesus himself.

We’ll explore how God reconciles us to himself first and then uses us to reconcile others to himself later on this week. Our encounter with God is never for our benefit alone. He wants to use our whole story, including the painful and shameful parts, to draw others to himself.

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What the Women Saw

Daily Question

Is it painful to share your past with others for fear of judgment or rejection? What person or group of people can you share your story within order to draw them to Christ?

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Comments (11)

I wish teenagers understood that the drama of these years they are in right now, will not last forever. Everybody will grow into adulthood, and the rejection, lonliness and ridicule they suffer as beautiful young people will not make a hill of beans. I know, I went through it. I stayed true to my beliefs, morals and values (in other words I tried really hard to stay away from the drugs and drinking). That made me an outcast. I wasn’t a Christian, I grew up with a family member who drank to much, so I decided I didn’t want that in my life – I wanted to be somebody others could depend on and I seen first hand that too much drink wouldn’t make me who I wanted to be. But my "school friends" didn’t understand that, they just knew I was different. But guess what? I made it all the way through. I don’t have a perfect life but it’s a great one. I have suffered since – because I’m human and live in this world. I found Jesus in my 20′ and He is a friend I have depended on everyday since. Life is terrific with Him in it, because I know He understands my heart.

I think you must share your past because we must meet people where they are at
I use to didn’t want to share but only because of the grace of God I can share
Praise the lord
Jesus is the same yesterday today and forevermore!
Come to Jesus just as you are and he will save you!!!

For me, my past is a testimony of all that God has brought me through so I am not afraid to share with anyone! I specifically can share my past to women/mothers as I had learned so much about being a single mother and keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus first by allowing him to be the cornerstone of my relationships with people!

Yes it painful to share some experiences I’ve endured . Ican share my testimony with young women who may be entering new ronantic relationships , or rebuilding torn familial relationships . Learning to have faith ,grow and surpass the pain is not easy but can be done in the process of prayer, repenting and being vulnerable to God and loved ones.

It is very painful to share your past with others. Especially with the thought of judgement. Everyday people are judged based upon their past, or present choices. To be honest you never know who to share personal information to without thinking someone will judge you. In these times alone people think so selfishly. It’s difficult to confide in someone.

It didn’t used to be. I felt compelled to do so and safe to do so. My life should serve the mission of truth. This is the life God gave me and saved me from and I’m proud of it and grateful for it. Why should I hide it? I thought.
I soon befriended someone at work very interested in drawing closer to Christ because of my openness. We grew a strong connection over the next two years and I thought we trusted one another. She came into a situation where she was facing some difficult moral choices. She leaned on me and I was glad of that but it became clear through it that my openness was no longer valuable to her. She Let me know I needed to keep it myself by distancing herself from me to the point of not talking at all. I’m burned by this scenario. I find it almost impossible to talk about myself at all at work anymore. I feel betrayed and insecure to be my honest self. Jesus help me.

In my current position maybe I could share my story with My sister. Maybe my mom. Maybe my sister and mother in law.

Wow. God is speaking to me through this question in a way I can’t deny. I actually avoided going to a life group this morning in which I was invited to share the story of my life and my past and I just could not do it so I just didn’t even go. I’m struggling with why right now I feel such reticence to share. the last 3 years have been very very difficult for me and I just didn’t want to open up that wound again with people that, although they mean it kindly, aren’t my closest friends or people that I particularly want or need to put my trust in. I don’t think I fear rejection–i just think it’s that there’s only so much of yourself you have to give when you are mentally and emotionally exhausted and in pain. That’s why I think it took just one on one with Jesus and knowing his acceptance of her before the woman was healed enough to go tell her story to others. I think I have just realized i need to spend more time with Jesus going over the pain and hurt of the past 3 years if I’m ever going to move past them.

Of course it is scary to share the past because of others thoughts, judgements, concerns; that’s human. What I have learned is, even said in the video above, that Jesus already knows everything you have done and He still loves us. We can share our stories with each other to be that helping, faithful hand.

Yes! And sharing our stories ~ particularly the hard, painful parts ~ disarms the enemy of his shaming tactics and powerless purposes. Instead, we fight for the glory of God, the One who can make beauty from ashes, life from death, good from evil. Because, if we belong to Him, He WINS. And that’s worth risking my fears on any day! Grace upon grace ♥️

Sharing our stories ~ particularly the hard, painful parts ~ disarms the enemy of his shaming tactics and powerless purposes. Instead, we fight for the glory of God, the One who can make beauty from ashes, life from death, good from evil. Because, if we belong to Him, He WINS. And that’s worth risking my fears on any day! Grace upon grace ♥️

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