…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14

Cross culture, sharing gospel: Jesus & the Samaritan woman at the well

How did Jesus bridge across culture, religious belief, race, gender
in an environment of racial tension & animosity? 

How did Jesus embrace people with an immoral, sinful past,
and lead them to faith in God?

Matthew 19:14 (NASB)
But Jesus said, “Let the children alone,
and do not hinder them from coming to Me; 

for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Let’s remove every hindrance, push aside our human walls,
and use stones to build a bridge to bring others closer to Jesus.

Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me,
and I will show you how to fish for people!”
Mark 1:17 (NLT)

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:29 (NLT)

Jesus led by example, … let’s learn from Him,
follow Him.

Let’s read the account of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well in Sychar from John’s gospel (John 4:3-30, 39-42).

Crossing race and gender

John 4:3-9 (NASB)
So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 
Jacob’s well was there,
and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her,
Will you give me a drink?”
(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

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.)

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink,
you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep.
Where can you get this living water?


To help us understand the context of the conversation, let’s read 2 other translations of  John 4:9,

The Samaritan woman said, “·I am surprised [L How is it…?]
that you ask me for a drink,
since you are a Jewish man [L a Jew]
and I am a Samaritan woman.”
(Jewish people ·are not friends  [do not share things;  have no dealings] with Samaritans.)  (EXB)

The woman answered, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan—so how can you ask me for a drink?”
(Jews will not use the same cups and bowls that Samaritans use.)  (GNT)

Let’s also read the disciples’ reaction after they returned from buying food in the city,

27 Just then his disciples came back.
They were shocked.
They couldn’t believe he was talking with that kind of a woman.
No one said what they were all thinking,
but their faces showed it.  (MSG)

Evidently, what Jesus did was taboo, … socially & culturally unacceptable.
Hence, the disciples were shocked that,

Jesus, a Jew was speaking to a Samaritan — racial divide
Jesus, a male rabbi teacher was speaking to a woman in public — a gender divide

This was further confounded that Jews were not friends with Samaritans — racial tension & animosity.
The Samaritans were considered ‘unclean‘ because of their mixed heritage (see footnote at the end of post).

The word ‘Samaritan’ was also used in derogatory name-calling in Jewish circles,
as can be seen in John 8:48 (NIV),
48 The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?”

Upon seeing a Jewish traveler, a stranger … alone at the well,
the Samaritan woman expected that she’ll be ignored … snubbed.

To her amazement, Jesus asked her kind assistance,
“Will you give me a drink?”

After years of animosity, and a long history of tension,
Jesus  humble  request for a drink of water was disarming,
… surprised the woman.

In her heart, … what would she do?

At the well, Jesus had nothing to draw the water with, and the well is deep.
(as noted by the Samaritan woman)

Her answer was, How can you ask me for a drink?”

Thus, when Jesus requested the woman for a drink, He was asking to drink
from the same water jar that the Samaritan woman was drinking from,
i.e. share her cup.

Even today, … drinking from the same cup is usually only shared amongst family members, or close friends.

Hence, Jesus demonstrated His love for the Samaritan woman by sharing her cup of water.
He did not consider her & her cup in anyway ‘unclean‘,
… thus, bridging across the racial divide and prejudice.

He respected her, and accepted her as a person made in His image,
He welcomed her …. ‘just as I am
His compassionate attitude & action, … broke the ice … (to water 🙂 )

Action speaks louder than words.

Jesus’ action revealed His heart towards her.

““Nobody cares how much you know
they know how much you care.
— Theodore Roosevelt 

When Jesus sent out the seventy-two to minister, He said,
Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’
Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; …”
Luke 10:5,7 (NASB)

‘Peace be to this house.’   Go, with a prayer of blessing upon the people we meet,

eating and drinking what they give you
Respecting others by sharing food & drink together,
appreciating their warm hospitality,
…. even when the cuisine is not familiar to us.

Peace be to this house.’
Crossing a culture by dwelling in their midst,
honoring their hospitality & culture, … respect.

Indeed, acts of love and compassion is a universal language
that everyone understands, appreciates and warms one’s heart.

An attittude of humility & respect, … builds bridges,
earns a listening ear.

The Samaritan woman was not ignored or overlooked by Jesus,
Jesus honored her with a humble, gentle request for assistance
— a cup of water

Once she felt accepted, … she relaxed, and was open to  chat with Him.

Its also interesting that Jesus began the conversation
with a humble, gentle request for help, assistance
for a human need.
“Will you give me a drink?”
… not some heavenly statement.

A humble request, … not a sermon.

In reality, … Jesus crossed into our world, by dwelling in our midst.
He tasted and drank our cup, and our portion in life … its joys, sorrow and pain.

Jesus crossed over into our world,
Jesus crossed over into Samaria,
Jesus crossed over to drink from the Samaritan woman’s cup.

Jesus did not wait for her, … he initiated the first move.
So should we, … whenever we desire to bridge across,
… reach out in humility, in love to someone of another culture.

just as the Son of Man did not come to be served,
but to serve,
and to give His life a ransom for many.

Luke 20:28 (NASB)

Sharing the gospel, … begins with our heart,
a loving, … humble, serving, … heart.

… people can hear our heart.

In the letter to the church in Corinth, Paul shared his approach in ministering to people of other cultures,

22 To the weak
I became weak,
that I might win the weak;

I have become all things to all men,
so that I may by all means save some.
1 Corinthians 9:22 (NASB)

Notice Paul did not write
To the weak, … I became strong

To the weak
I became weak,    

in empathy,
.. ‘walk in their shoes‘, .. ‘seeing through their eyes‘,

build bridges by seeking first to understand others,
then to be understood,

I might win the weak

A simple example —
its like stooping or kneeling ourselves to child-height,
so she can see us at her level, as we chat and play with her,
and speaking in simple words;
rather than, she having to raise her head all the time to engage us.
Walking with her at a pace comfortable for her.

A prideful, condescending, attitude repels everyone, … including ourselves
… (eg. being a poor listener,   ‘know-it-all’, self-righteous, etc)

14 Bless those who persecute you;
bless and do not curse.

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice;
mourn with those who mourn.

Compassionately, sharing another’s joys and grief.

16 Live in harmony with one another.
Do not be proud,

but be willing to associate with people of low position.

Do not be conceited.
Romans 12:14-16 (NIV)

Let’s minister and share in a giving, forgiving, compassionate, humble attitude of service, … with empathy.

Jesus abandoned the ethnocentric bias and prejudice that separated both cultures.
As prescribed by the Law.

“If you see your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering away, you must return it to him. If you see that your enemy’s donkey has fallen because its load is too heavy, do not leave it there. You must help your enemy get the donkey back on its feet.

“You must not mistreat a foreigner.
You know how it feels to be a foreigner, because you were foreigners in Egypt.
Exodus 23:4,5, 9 (NCV)

and expressed in New Covenant,

 … The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command:
Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 5:6, 14 (NIV)

Hence, it begins with a heart choice,
(sometimes, a hard choice) …
to sincerely & practically
love each individual person we’ll reaching out to
with Jesus love.

Hatred stirs up conflict,
love covers over all wrongs.

Proverbs 10:12 (NIV)

… people can hear our attitude

On a side note, Philip approached the Ethiopian official on his chariot
with a questionan open helping hand,

30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet.

“Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?”

So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
Acts 8:30,31 (NASB)

Crossing from the natural to the spiritual

Continuing in their conversation,

John 4:10-14 (NASB)
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink,
you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep.
Where can you get this living water?

12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,
14 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.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty
and have to keep coming here to draw water.

At the well, both Jesus and the Samaritan woman shared a common physical need
— they were both thirsty for water.

Jesus started with common ground.

Jesus led her need for natural water from the well,
… to desire for living water from Him — crossing the natural-spiritual divide.

Samaria has no rivers or springs (living water).  Water was obtained from wells and cisterns, i.e. stagnant water.
Upon hearing about such a source of living water, … the woman was interested.
“Where can you get this living water?”
“give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty
and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Expecting a new physical source of flowing water, the woman asked if Jesus was greater than Jacob who gave them the well she was using.
Jesus continued to stir her thirst for the living water  springing up to eternal life,
that she shall never thirst anymore.


In hot, dry regions, … sharing water with a stranger … priceless.

In the natural, people cannot survive long without water.
Thus, Jesus linked water to sustaining life,
… leading to … the living water  He gives
that sustains eternal life.

To recap our sharing so far,
Beginning with common ground
in a respectful, loving manner,
Jesus started from the natural and
gently led her to the spiritual.
The woman had a meaningful conversation with Jesus.

In short, He did not ‘throw the book‘ at her.
He respected her, agape her.

He compassionately tailored his sharing to the needs, interests and background of the Samaritan woman,
in simple everyday language that she can relate & understand.
That’s the way our loving heavenly Father shares with us.

On a further note on living water, in the Old Testament, the Lord God calls Himself the fountain / spring of living waters (Jeremiah 2:13, 17:13)

Crossing the barrier of sin

John 4:15-18 (NIV)
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Here, the conversation takes a turn.
Now, …
the woman … is requesting water from Jesus 🙂 .

She’s interested.

However, there’s something she has to cross — the sin divide.
Observe carefully how Jesus delicately and respectfully navigate this.

16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, You are right when you say you have no husband.
18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.
What you have just said is quite true.”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 

Jesus had the secret tabloid file about this Samaritan woman.
Jesus had the word of knowledge that the woman had 5 husbands, and now was living with another man who was not her husband.

Instead of accusing her and harping on her past sins,
… Jesus asked her about her husband, ….  “Go, call your husband and come back.”

Let’s carefully observe Jesus’ reaction to her reply,

she gave a half-truth, “I have no husband,”
… technically correct, but not truthfully correct.

When Jesus heard her answer, he repliedYou are right”

Huh ?  “Right?
Shouldn’t Jesus say,  “You are wrong” … and pull out her secret file ?
… and rebuke her for lying ?

Furthermore, Jesus was very gracious to her adding
What you have just said is quite true”,
not a hint of condemnation or accusation of how bad a sinner she was.

Jesus extended grace to her,
without compromising the truth,
 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.

As a result, she opened her heart … to receive the Messiah into her heart.

When others said, “Look at her sins !”
God said, “Look at my Son!”

Indeed, Jesus response to her was full of grace and truth.

John 1:14 (NIV)
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

We have seen his glory,
the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father,
full of grace and truth.

John 3:17 (NIV)
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through him.

Romans 2:4 (NIV)
Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience,
not realizing that

God’s kindness
is intended to lead you to repentance

Let’s follow Jesus’ example,
 “Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall receive mercy.
Matthew 5:7 (NASB)

Crossing religious belief and culture

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.

She acknowledged only God knew the intimate details of her life over the years.
And here, a total stranger whom she just met,
Jesus was saying … what only she and God knew.

The woman heard God’s word, and saw God’s character in Jesus.

Despite her lifestyle, … deep down in her heart, … she had an awareness of God.
Thus, its best not to judge any book by its cover.

From Jesus’ insightful answer, the woman responded.

20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain,
but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

How should I respond to God?

As a Samaritan, she’s been taught to worship at this mountain (Mount Gerizim)
here was a Jew, a prophet was speaking to her ….

Which god or God is this prophet from?
Which religious rule book to follow, … this mountain or Jerusalem?
(the Samaritan one or the Jewish one?)

What sacrifices/gifts of worship to bring?
Jewish or Samaritan music?

— the religious divide

Does she, a Samaritan woman, have to take on a foreign culture & its values?
(btw, … in Acts & Galatians, similar issues arose when the Gentiles believed in Jesus)
Does she have to give up her cultural roots?
Which aspect of her culture does she have to give up?

— the cultural & ethnicity divide

Whether it was about Samaritans or Jews,
the central issue in her statement was … worship.
Worship — proskyneō, to kiss in reverence, adore (Strong)

21 “Woman,” Jesus replied,
believe me,

a time is coming when
you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.

22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know;
we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.

23 Yet a time is coming
and has now come when
the true worshipers will worship the Father
in the Spirit and in truth,

for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
24 God is spirit,
and his worshipers must worship
in the Spirit and in truth.”

The second time Jesus mentions God, He introduces God as
a tender, caring, healing and loving, … Father

And … God is spirit

In Jesus explanation, Jesus did not say whether the Jewish or Samaritan way was more accurate, or more devout, or more superior.
Jesus also did not say anything negative about the Samaritan way; … consistent with Him drinking from her cup.
Jesus respected her, and her background.

Jesus explained the truth to her.

The Samaritan woman began her statement with —  “20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain …” (NASB)
Jesus explained — worship the Father

In Jesus’ explanation, Jesus introduced her to God as our heavenly Father  (3 times Jesus refers to God the Father)

Jesus led her to look beyond our own ethnic & cultural identity (eg. Samaritans, Jews, Gentiles, etc)
and past our historical heritage (our fathers),
to our shared common humanity   (eg.  the color of our blood is the same – red)
— we’re made in the image of a God,
God our Father who created us all, who desires us to believe & know Him personally.

Our common shared human need for God the Father in our lives,

“You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless
until they find their rest in Thee.”

– St. Augustine

“There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man,
and only God can fill it.”

– attributed Blaise Pascal, by some as a paraphrase from a longer quote in Pascal’s Pensees

Whoever we are, and wherever we come from,
each one of us is valued, and deeply loved by the Lord.
Jesus died for each and every one of us.

 12 Yet to all who did receive him,
to those who believed in his name,
he gave the right to become children of God
13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will,
but born of God.

John 4:12, 13 (NIV)

Hence, … embracing our new shared common identity as children of God,
and  true worshipers of God our Father,
through believing in Jesus
— new creation in Christ,
honoring one another’s God-made uniqueness.

How do we view people who are very different from us?

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 
27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female,
for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:26-28 (NIV)

Jesus also explained true Godly worship to her:

Worship is not an activity at a particular sacred location (this mountain or Jerusalem)
with prescribed sacrifices, rituals, ceremonies & liturgies.
Not a rule book or music genre.

The nature of God — God is our Father God is spirit
Hence, the true worshipers will worship the Father
in the Spirit and in truth,

God is not far away,
God is personal, and everyone can know Him, … our Father
as personal as Jesus chatting with her at the well
as she’s drawing water from the well
in her everyday activities.

(rather than being in some ‘spiritual posture’ in her best clothes, at her best behavior,
or at some religious building or service)

Its not where,  … but to who,  .. our Father
& from the heart,
… a lifestyle, a way of living.

Its not about outward practices,
but an inward reality of the heart, .. a daily relationship with the Father, through Jesus.

worshipers the Father seeks
Jesus did not mention ethnicity or culture  in his answer (i.e. neither Jews or Samaritans),
… at the heart is worshipers
who worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth.

He is the God and Father of both the Jews and the Samaritans,
and loves them both.

On a side note, … its interesting that this truth on worship that we quote so often
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth,
was first revealed to a nameless Samaritan woman, … on her daily chores of drawing water.
Praise God!

 10 This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel
    after that time, declares the Lord.

I will put my laws in their minds
    and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.

11 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
    or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
    from the least of them to the greatest.
Hebrews 8:10, 11 (NIV)

This truth —  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth
(i.e. worship is not on this mountain or Jerusalem),
is echoed in Stephen’s message to the Jewish leaders, and Paul’s message to the Greek Gentiles in Athens.

“47 But it was Solomon who built a house for him.
48 However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. …”
As the prophet says:
49 “‘Heaven is my throne,

    and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me?

says the Lord.
    Or where will my resting place be?
50 Has not my hand made all these things?

Acts 7:47,48 (NIV)

24 The God who made the world and everything in it
is the Lord of heaven and earth

and does not live in temples built by human hands.
25 And he is not served by human hands,
as if he needed anything.
Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.

Acts 17:24,25 (NIV)

 … “Do not I fill heaven and earth?”
declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 23:24 (NIV)

This distinguishes the Lord God Almightly … from other gods;
our personal, daily worship relationship with the Lord,
… from activity-based religious belief, organised religion.

The Lord God who loves us, who sent the Messiah, Savior to restore our personal relationship with Him.

Thus, in sharing Jesus with others,
the focus is believing and following Jesus, 
true worshippers of the Father, in Spirit & truth
rather than,
this mountain or in Jerusalem  (eg. joining a religion, group or church)

Having met Jesus the Truth,
Jesus was inviting the Samaritan woman to walk & live in truth by His Spirit,
from the way she used to live,
for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

Due to her past, she probably felt unworthy, ‘unclean’ to come to God in worship.
There’s no way she can undo her past,
or atone for her past,
here is God’s salvation, Messiah, … received by God’s grace,
springing up to eternal life

Through Jesus, God accepted her,
she’s worthy to come to God in worship in the Spirit and in truth.

Empty handed, … ‘just as I am
… she came,
in Jesus, redeemed & loved,
grace & mercy from above.

Through Jesus explanation, she discovered a fresh revelation of who God is and what He truly desires from us.
The Truth set her free to come and worship God with a clear conscience.

Hence, continuing on,

 25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming.
When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

The Jews & Samaritans share a common hope of the coming Messiah, Christ,
who will will explain everything to us.

Finally,… Jesus reveals to her who he is,
“I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” — the Messiah, the Christ.

the gift of God .. who gives you living water
…  springing up to eternal life,
whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.

For there is one God
and one mediator between God and mankind,
the man Christ Jesus,
1 Timothy 2:5 (NIV)


Jesus led her by the hand
from meeting a thirsty stranger, a Jewish traveler,
… a mere man,
… to a prophet,
… to the Messiah,
as He led   her heart   heaven-ward  towards God.

In the four gospels, there are only  2 occasions where Jesus proclaimed that He is the Messiah.
The Samaritan woman is so privileged to hear Jesus reveal that He is truly the Messiah, the Christ who has come!
(The other occasion was at Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin (Mark 14:61-64))

Throughout the ages, prophets and people have been hoping & intently seeking to meet the Messiah (1 Peter 1:10-12),
and here He is … He shows up to meet her, … chat with her
in the heat of the midday sun,
in her daily chores, … as she’s physically drawing water from the well.

She so marvelously experienced what few in the Old Covenant in Israel had the privilege to,
i.e.  The Lord would speak to Moses
face   to   face,
as one speaks to a friend. …
Exodus 33:11 (NIV)

Jesus went … & met her …  as she was going through her everyday life,
and He spoke to her, … like a friend,
face to face.
Amazing grace !

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost
Luke 19:10 (HCSB)

Despite her past, or rather, because of her past,
she received a privileged one-on-one meeting with the Messiah, Himself, face to face.
Amazing grace!

She came into His presence,
or rather, … He came to where she was,
in the midst of her going to draw water
at midday, … an everyday mundane chore.

Furthermore, through her hospitality to a stranger,
she lived out the heart of a true sheep in
the parable of the sheep and goats

35 … I was thirsty and you gave me drink, …
40 … as you did it … you did it to me.
Matthew 25:35, 40 (ESV)

Blessed are those who hunger
and thirst for righteousness,

    for they will be filled.
Matthew 5:6 (NIV)

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways

    and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,

    and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
Isaiah 55:1 ,6-7 (NIV)

Interestingly, in the last few verses of Revelation, we hear this familiar invitation,

17 The Spirit and the bride say,

And let the one who hears say,

And let the one who is thirsty

let the one who wishes take
the water of life without cost.

Revelation 22:17 (NASB)

Continuing on with her response,

John 4:28-30, 39-42 (NIV)
28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people,

29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.
Could this be the Messiah?”

30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

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.”

So life-changing was Jesus revelation to the woman,
… she forgot about her water jar.

She came to the well for water.
At the well, she met Jesus, … and her spiritual thirst was overwhelmingly satisfied with living water.

She was so fulfilled and excited that she spontaneously went back to her town to invite everyone to meet Jesus, the Messiah.

She knew others, who were just as thirsty as her, … who would be satisfied.
Her encounter with Jesus inspired her.

“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.”
Jesus, the Messiah, knows everything I ever did … and yet, 
… He still loves me !

I just met Him!
God sent Him to meet me, … at our well,
… God cares for me … and you too!
God loves the Samaritans 🙂 !

Jesus is right for all that’s wrong in our lives.

Because of her testimony, many Samaritans from that town believed in Jesus,
And because of his words many more became believers.
“we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

Her simple testimony, … moved the hearts of the people, praise God!

such was the hunger and thirst of the Samaritans for the living water springing to eternal life,
in the midday dry heat,
They came out of the town and made their way toward him …
the Samaritans came to him,
they urged him to stay with them

because of Jesus words
many more
became believers

Praise God!

In her town, the Samaritan woman’s notoriety was well known.

Her search for acceptance, love, intimacy, …. sleeping with various men did not satisfy her.
Right in the heat of the day, she met Someone who accepted her unconditionally for who she is.
Only Jesus unconditional love satisfied her thirst for love and acceptance..

Even more amazing, the Lord used this woman with such a past
to mightily spark a revival in her town.
She became an instant lay evangelist (without any training🙂 ),
an honored messenger of God,
leading many Samaritans to Christ
by the power of her simple testimony
… (wouldn’t we want her to be part of our church?)

Out of all the Samaritans in Samaria, Jesus chose to first reveal himself to this woman
… an outcast, …who’s special in His eyes, … and deeply loved.
Praise God!

“.. the outlandishness of God,
who does impossible things with impossible people ..”

— Frederick Buechner

 Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you
that the tax collectors and prostitutes
will get into the kingdom of God before you.
Matthew 21:31 (NIV)

Indeed, … when we get to heaven, … we’re be pleasantly surprised with who we’ll meet, … and hear their awe-inspiring testimonies of meeting and walking with Jesus.

Earlier, we read that the 12 disciples were shocked that Jesus was talking with that kind of a woman.
Imagine their faces, … when soon after, …
the same Samaritan woman
leads an eager crowd of townsfolk and elders to meet Jesus 🙂  .

Not just one, … but a town-full of Samaritans surrounding the 12 disciples !
And … for the next 2 days they’ll be drinking, eating and sleeping Samaritan style.
I’m sure the disciples had an instant change of heart towards Samaritans 🙂  🙂 .

The first step to build bridges
is to cross the bridge — meet them, … make a new friend.

The best way to be effective in cross-cultural missions,
is … immersion,
living, eating, drinking with the locals,
meeting them in their daily life
cross-over  into their culture.

Respecting, loving the locals for who they are, … created in God’s image,
just like Jesus & his disciples example;
not FIFO – fly-in fly-out.

Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me,
and I will show you how to fish for people!”
Mark 1:17 (NLT)

The disciples certainly didn’t need a sermon
to change their heart towards the Samaritans :-).

Human walls melt … in the presence of Jesus & His love.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Matthew 5:9 (NIV)

Indeed in God’s wisdom,

25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise;
God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things
—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are,

29 so that no one may boast before him.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29 (NIV)

Honoring the culture of others, an example:
Hudson Taylor, missionary to China (1800s)

“Taylor was known for his sensitivity to Chinese culture and zeal for evangelism. He adopted wearing native Chinese clothing even though this was rare among missionaries of that time

When other missionaries sought to preserve their British ways,
Hudson Taylor was convinced that the Gospel would only take root on Chinese soil if missionaries were willing to affirm the culture of the people they were seeking to reach. 

Taylor was able to preach in several varieties of Chinese,
including Mandarin, Chaozhou, and the Wu dialects of Shanghai and Ningbo. The last of these h
e knew well enough to help prepare a colloquial edition of the New Testament written in it.”
Source:  Wikipedia

Hudson Taylor crossed the language, culture and class barriers to reach out to the Chinese;
being as one who writes, talks and acts like them,
honoring the Chinese and their culture.
This helps a  Chinese listener to focus only on the message
— i.e.  Jesus, the Word, the Way, the Truth of God.

Furthermore, he demonstrated to the Chinese, that one does not need to become Westernised to believe in Jesus … as faith in God is of the heart & be like Jesus;  not outward practice/rules or culture.

For church folks,

When we are dealing with cross-cultural and multi-cultural ministry, 
it is important to see God at work in all cultures,
not just one.
— Soong-Chan Rah

On a side note, it helps to bridge across cultures when Bible translators use words that have cultural significance/meaning to the listeners, without losing the original meaning and intention of the verse,
eg John 1:1 in Chinese — the Word is translated as 

Sometimes, a native language does not use or have an equivalent word for Bible translation.
Example:  Check the native word for “bread” used in “Bread of Life” (John 6:35), and the bread at the last supper (Luke 22:19) in the Chinese, Korean, Thai Bible.   Furthermore, what’s Jewish bread like? 🙂

Thus, if one is sharing through an interpreter,
it helps to confirm what their Bible translation of the verse says in their native language.

In summary,
Jesus did not preach a monologue sermon at  her,
neither did he bluntly pointed out her sin.

A drink,
a simple chat.

He began with what they shared in common,
and patiently built bridges to assist her to cross
from where she was
to where He desired her to be.

He engaged her in conversation in gentleness and respect.
He patiently listened, … answered her curiosity, her questions,
and led her to faith in God.

Jesus began with a humble, gentle request for a drink of water from her.

a friendly chat, … with a friend who listens, … and cares.

15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life.
And if someone asks about your hope as a believer,
always be ready to explain it.

16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way.

Keep your conscience clear.
Then if people speak against you,
they will be ashamed when they see
what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.
1 Peter 3:15,16 (NLT)

Treat others
the same way you want them
to treat you.
Luke 6:31 (NASB)

… I have become all things to all men,
so that I may by all means save some.
1 Corinthians 9:22 (NASB)

On a final note, there’s something else we can be inspired by Jesus example,
the story begins with Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon

… tired, … thirsty, … hot …. drenched in sweat … hungry …
There’re times … when ministry and sharing is the last thing on our minds,
… let Jesus be our hope & inspiration,

… who knows, … like the chance meeting at the well,
it could be the spark of a fresh move of God.

Serving others in our utter humble weakness
… becomes 100% God,
clearly, not us …. Praise God!

Let us not become weary
in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest
if we do not give up

10 Therefore, as we have opportunity,
let us do good to all people,
especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Galatians 6:9,10 (NIV)

In a sense, the Samaritan woman’s experience of meeting Jesus echoes what Isaiah prophesised in Isaiah 12 (NIV),

In that day you will say:

“I will praise you, Lord.

    Although you were angry with me,
your anger has turned away
    and you have comforted me.

Surely God is my salvation;
    I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself,
is my strength and my defense;

    he has become my salvation.”

With joy you will draw water
    from the wells of salvation.

In that day you will say:

“Give praise to the Lord,
proclaim his name;

    make known among the nations what he has done,
    and proclaim that his name is exalted.

Sing to the Lord,
for he has done glorious things;

    let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
    for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

End notes:

In John 3, Jesus shares the kingdom of God with a devout Jew & educated Pharisee, Nicodemus who came to see Jesus at night.
While in John 4, Jesus shares with an unknown Samaritan woman at noon day, who had 5 husbands and living with a man who is not her husband;  a Samaritan of mixed Jew and Gentile heritage.

Both the devout Pharisee and the Samaritan woman appear to be at opposite ends of walking according to God’s law, … like night and day.

However, Jesus loved both of them equally & unconditionally, … and He gave each one his kind attention and time.

Jesus personalised His message to each one, respecting each one, and patiently leading them to know Him personally, to receive His salvation.
Praise God for His mercy, grace and truth!

In John 6, near the Passover & unleavened bread festival,
Jesus multiplied bread to feed the multitude,
… later, when the people sought Him out,
He led them from the physical bread which they had partaken,
to Himself,
the living bread that came from heaven, sent by the Father.
Jesus, the bread of life, who gives everyone eternal life.

On another occasion in Luke 14, Jesus was invited to the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath.  There, … Jesus healed a man, … and shared 3 short parables in His conversations.
The parables were all centered around a host and guests at a meal.  Each parable was about a minute or two long.
Jesus brilliantly weaved spiritual truths with down-to-earth everyday matters in His conversations with the people present, fitting the situation;  just like the conversation with the woman at the well, … from natural water … to living water.  Praise God!

Further reading, related posts:

Cross culture keys, sharing gospel with people of other religions – Paul in Athens

A simple, easy way to share the gospel of Jesus with family & friends

Everything for life’s journey — way, light, bread, water


The name given to the new and mixed inhabitants whom Esarhaddon (B.C. 677), the king of Assyria, brought from Babylon and other places and settled in the cities of Samaria, instead of the original inhabitants whom Sargon (B.C. 721) had removed into captivity (2 Kings 17:24; Comp. Ezra 4:2, 9, 10). These strangers (Comp. Luke 17:18) amalgamated with the Jews still remaining in the land, and gradually abandoned their old idolatry and adopted partly the Jewish religion.
After the return from the Captivity, the Jews in Jerusalem refused to allow them to take part with them in rebuilding the temple, and hence sprang up an open enmity between them. They erected a rival temple on Mount Gerizim, which was, however, destroyed by a Jewish king (B.C. 130). They then built another at Shechem. The bitter enmity between the Jews and Samaritans continued in the time of our Lord: the Jews had “no dealings with the Samaritans” (John 4:9; Comp. Luke 9:52, 53). Our Lord was in contempt called “a Samaritan” (John 8:48). Many of the Samaritans early embraced the gospel (John 4:5-42; Acts 8:25; 9:31; 15:3). Of these Samaritans there still remains a small population of about one hundred and sixty, who all reside in Shechem, where they carefully observe the religious customs of their fathers. They are the “smallest and oldest sect in the world.”

— Source: Easton Bible Dictionary,

Cross-Culture | Sharing Jesus

by 林弟兄, bro Lim
November 1, 2016

Copyright © 林弟兄 bro Lim, Laymanointing, 2014-2016 – All Rights Reserved
Creative Commons License




This entry was posted on November 1, 2016 by in cross-culture, Daily Rice, Ministry, Missions, Sharing Jesus and tagged , .
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