In John 4 Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well, and asks her for a drink. With this single interaction, Jesus defies many cultural norms of the day. Firstly, Jews did not associate with Samaritans. Samaritans were considered scum. So much so, that even the woman was surprised by Jesus engaging her. We read her response in verse 9: “The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans”. The response from His own disciples in verse 27, gives us even more insight into the culture of the day. We read that they marveled that He spoke to a woman! Then, to add even more intrigue, we read in verse 18 that this was actually a woman of ill-repute who had five husbands, and was presently living with another, who was not even her husband. So, in short Jesus is consorting with a Samaritan woman of ill-repute.
His love, and willingness to defy the culture of the day wins her heart. Fueled by the revelation of meeting the Christ, she goes on to testify about Him to many in the city where she lived. Her testimony then, lead many to Jesus.
I love so many things about this story. I particularly love the fact that Jesus was not concerned with His reputation, for He knew who He was. He even told her so- “I who speak to you, am He (The Messiah)”. By revealing His identity to her, He seemed more concerned with her reputation, for He knew who she was, and the life she was living was not consistent with who she was created to be.
Knowing then who we are, we also should also not regard our reputation in engaging with the Samaritans of our day. Their reputations should be prized higher than our own.