It was the kind of area that was best avoided (John 4:5-42). Some did. Others went straight through with as little interaction as possible. This was Samaria and the last place that we might expect a significant exchange between the locals and the righteous. It was the most direct route between Judea and Galilee which led the Son of God into an unexpected encounter. He did that often. Stepping out of heaven and into the world saturated by sin was a dramatic move. One that He made in search of the needy.
This woman certainly fit that bill. It was a day like any other. She made the trek out to the well to fetch water, not in search of a life changing meeting. He offered no evidence that He was anything other than a thirsty man, and He made the unusual gesture of approaching her for a drink. He was a Jew, she was a Samaritan, and those two simply did not mix. Didn’t He know that? Besides, she was a…well…a she. He was talking with a woman? And a Samaritan woman, at that! Two strikes, and the conversation has just begun.
The chat exposed more. His prompting to call her husband revealed more objectionable information. She had had a string of unsuccessful marriages. Her track record of failed relationships was so dismal that she had given up on weddings and had simply moved in with the latest man. Why would Jesus pause in the middle of His journey to talk to such a person of poor pedigree and terrible history? He came to seek the lost, remember? She certainly needed what He offered.
Slowly, her eyes opened until she cautiously brought up the topic of the Messiah. She first saw a Jew. Then she figured out that He was more than that. He was a prophet. Finally, it dawned on her: Is this the One? That prospect drove her away from her water pot and into town. Her story started a ruckus that led to the Savior of the world.
The Lord seldom works in conventional ways. He washed away a wicked world. He began the family of promise through an old man and woman. The chosen people through whom He would bring His Son were slaves for four centuries. The Savior was born to a virgin. Sin-driven men nailed that Savior to a cross. God raised Him from the dead. Predictable? Hardly. “…Nor are your ways my ways,” Declares the Lord (Isaiah 55:8).
He walked where others chose not to. He talked with the sinful, crossed boundaries that challenged the norms and was in the face of the self-righteous religious. He rubbed elbows with the least likely and brought salvation to the undesirable. That was His mission. Seek the lost. Shock the establishment. Break down barriers, and open heaven’s doors to commoners. He was what no one expected and everyone needed.