The tragedy of our world is that our communities are fragmented and demarcated according to gender, ethnicity, race, socio-economic statuses, religio-political affiliations, etc…each jostling and vying for prominence and dominance, usually in vain. This is hardly a novel phenomenon. It is something that is as old as mankind. In the days of Jesus intra and inter-racial strife and hostilities abounded. For instance, intra-Jewish unrest was rife, often fueled by socio-economic and spiritual inequalities. Those who were perceived as custodians of the Law loaded it over the masses, to the chagrin of the latter. Inter-racial discord was equally palpable. The Jews hated their Roman oppressors, marginalized women and children, and despised the Samaritans whom they regarded as unclean half-breeds. Jesus, whose mission was to establish a universal kingdom that would reconcile all mankind to God, often ignored and even violated these invisible lines of separation. He allowed people of both genders, various ethnic groups, social strata and different age groups to have access to him. This was his object lesson to those who selfishly insisted on the disenfranchisement of the vulnerable among them. All people from assorted social groups including those with incurable infectious diseases and outcasts who lived on the peripheries of society found a ready and compassionate audience in Him.
The account of His encounter with the Samaritan woman epitomizes His inclusiveness and speaks volumes about how He upheld the dignity and value of each human being. He responded to her defensive viewpoints regarding the discord between Jews and Samaritans with compassionate insight and tact. Sensing a deeper need than what she was articulating, He gently steered the conversation to the wounds that had ravaged her soul hitherto and offered her a permanent remedy for them- a remedy which had eluded her all her life. It was inconsequential that she was a woman and a Samaritan. What the Lord saw in this woman was a soul that had been cruelly exploited and squeezed to the fringes of the mainstream society by social predators, and needed to be forgiven, healed and integrated into the family of God. In Jesus, those who have no voices find their voices and those who are looking in from the outside are gently brought into His fellowship and are restored. No wonder this woman abandoned her water pot in her rush to proclaim her discovery of One who could take the shards of her shattered life and make a beautiful mosaic out of them. Who wouldn’t?