Samaritans were a people of Jewish origin and even followed Judaism, but they were of mixed race with other pagan cultures. Because of this reason, Jews detested Samaritans and avoided any contact with them, so much so that they avoided passing through Samaria as they went from Judea to Galilee, preferring a longer route, just to avoid Samaritans. In the story of the Samaritan woman in John chapter 4, we see that Jesus and his disciples passed through Samaria, most likely the disciples were against it but perhaps at the direction of Jesus, reluctantly agreed. Jesus knew what He was doing, he knew where he was going, and whom he purposed to meet. The Samaritan Woman was not just a Samaritan, she was also a woman of ill reputation. And most likely in her day and age, was avoided by a lot of people who knew her, and did not want to be associated with her.
She was stigmatized to the extent that she had to draw water in the heat of mid-day when no one else was at the well. Jesus, being a man, and being a Jew, and being holy did the unthinkable; he asked water from a Samaritan, a woman, and a woman of a bad reputation at that! But Jesus was intentional. He intentionally located this woman at the well, it was the very reason he had chosen to pass through Samaria in the first place. Many are the times we try to avoid people of bad reputation or people who have issues, even as Christians, we prefer to be associated with ‘better people, and we dismiss ‘sinful’ people as those awaiting God’s judgement.
And just like the Samaritan woman, Jesus is aware of our circumstances, of how far we have fallen, of the despicable things we have done. And many times we feel that for God to meet with us, we have to change, or we have to achieve a certain level of righteousness before we are confident to meet with Christ. If the Samaritan woman did not have the issues she did, she would not have been on the path of Christ. There were many other people in Samaria that Jesus would have gone to anyway, there sure must have been ‘righteous’ Samaritans in town. We may be surrounded by circumstances that make us feel dirty and unworthy, we may have issues that cause the society around to avoid us and label us and dismiss us, but it is through those circumstances that Christ zeros in on us. Sometimes God intentionally closes certain doors in our lives in order to allow us to have an encounter with Him. If the Samaritan woman had been an honourable woman, with a proper husband and a proper family, she would have had no business being at the well, and Jesus would have had no business looking for her.
So we ought to take our circumstances and shortcomings as opportunities to encounter Christ and not wait till we feel we are ‘better’ or more ‘righteous’ or altogether dismiss ourselves as not good enough to be located by Jesus. This is because God begins with us where we are, not where we are expected to be or hope to be, and He takes us where HE wants us to be. Jesus doesn’t show up when we want him to show up, or in the way we want him to show up. He shows up when it is His right time to show up. And he doesn’t wait until we are good enough for him, because as the Bible says in Romans 5:8 that “while we were yet sinner, Christ died for us”. Jesus is not hindered by our sin or mistakes, if he was, he would not have come to earth as man in the first place. So let’s take a bold step in spite of our prevailing conditions of life and call on His name in confidence, because He did not come for the righteous but for the sinners (Luke 5:32)