You know there are so many churches and people that “tag” other people as unable to serve in the church because of his or her “past”, BUT what they are REALLY doing is trying to tie God’s hands or shut God’s mouth. Jesus sat down by a well while his disciples traipsed off to the town to get a Big Mac and a Coke.
Along came a Samaritan woman in the HEAT of the day at high noon with an empty water jug she thought she would have to fill on her own. Jesus was thirsty from the stroll and asked the lady for a drink. Two things show the strangeness of the situation. First, the reason the woman came in the heat of the day was probably so no one else would be at the well because she was EVEN unacceptable to the Samaritans, who were looked down upon by the Jews. Second, Jesus talking to a Samaritan, whether man or woman, flew in the face of the prejudice of the day.
The Jews considered the Samaritans a sub-race and not really people because they were mongrels. The Samaritans were of the house of Israel but they weren’t pure because they were intermingled with other races. This attitude flows all the way back to when Israel had been in captivity in Babylon over 550 years before Christ.
The woman was being wary because of her past. I assume she had probably been hurt by everyone and marveled at Jesus even talking to her. From His clothes and accent she knew He was a Jew and she told Him what she was thinking so she wasn’t shy. She asked Him how He could ask her for a drink because He was a Jew (she was being prejudiced herself at that point). Jesus, loving her, told her if she knew who He was she would have asked Him for a drink of living water. The woman, perceiving only the physical world at that moment, looked at Him and said, “The well is deep and you don’t have anything to draw with; in fact didn’t YOU just ask ME for a drink? Jesus pretty much laid it out at that juncture when He said, referring to the well they were at, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman, still focused on the physical, stated, “OH BOY, give me this water and I’ll never come to this well in the heat of the day again.”
Jesus told her to go get her husband and return. She, wanting to appear “self-sufficient”, curtly replied, “I don’t have a husband.” Here is where it gets really good. Jesus told her, “You are right. You DON’T have a husband. You have had 5 husbands and you are shacking up right now with someone else.” The woman knowing she had been busted and being used to the feeling of embarrassment, tried to change the subject. “I can tell you’re a prophet” she says. Then she tries to turn it into a theological discussion. She told Him about the PLACE to worship and Jesus told her straight out that there would be a day where neither place will be “THE PLACE” of worship and it will be a time of worship in Spirit and in Truth. So she just spat out, “Well when the Messiah comes He will explain everything.” Jesus blew her away by saying, “I AM He!”
About this time Jesus’ disciples returned and asked Him, “What are you talking to HER for?” At this point, she left everything she brought with her, along with the burden she carried to the well where she met Jesus. She went back to town. While she was gone, His disciples tried to get Him to eat and Jesus let them know His food came from doing the Father’s will. In the meantime, the Samaritan woman went to the people that shunned her to tell them of the Messiah and lead them back to Him. She led the people back to Jesus to sample the truth of God. Scripture tells us:
John 4: 39-42
39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.
42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
Had Jesus looked at her and shunned her also, would the town have been converted? Would those people have died and landed in Hell? Would God’s kingdom be advanced by how many ever souls were brought into the gates that day? Before we look at someone and say, “God can’t use that person because of …” Look at the track record of God’s choices. Abel, the younger brother, Abraham the liar, Jacob the trickster, Rahab the harlot, Samson the womanizer, David the younger of Jessie’s sons and the smallest, Mary the teenager to bear His Son, Joseph the carpenter, a man who worked with his hands, a group of ragtag fishermen and tax collectors; actually the only one “qualified” to the task is the one that betrayed Jesus. With this band of men, God changed the world, but let’s go further. God chose Paul, the Osama Bin Laden of his day, killing Christ followers because they were heretics (infidels if you like) and he THOUGHT he was serving God doing it; oh, and he saved me too.
So before you look at someone and judge with your eyes, look into the hearts of people and see God there. Better yet, look into your heart and find God there and let Him use whatever gifts that you bring to the table. Bring what you have; God will make it enough.