Jesus didn’t care about the cultural rules, He cared about people. In John 4, we find the story of the woman at the well. If you don’t know this story, here’s the summary: Jesus travels through Samaria which is enemy territory as far as Jewish culture was concerned. Not only does He stop there for some water, He talks to a Samaritan who happens to be a woman. (Insert double gasp here.) Jewish men would never stop in Samaria for water and would certainly never talk to a woman. Jesus broke the cultural rules in a big way! Yikes!
So right off the bat we see that Jesus doesn’t care one bit about the rules, He cares about the people. He knows the woman is an outcast if for no other reason, because she is at the well by herself and culturally, women went together. He also knows she’s an outcast because He is God and He knows her entire story, which we see Him recite to her as they spend more time together. He is seeking to lift her burden and bring her life, in spite of the rules. He isn’t breaking any laws or going against God, He’s going against man here.
We can end right there and write books and sermons on how we need to support the outcasts in our modern day Samaria’s, and people have. It’s an amazing story of unconditional love and it is quickly becoming a story I live my life by, but I don’t want us to stop at the encounter with the woman, I want to go a little deeper.
Jesus changes this woman’s life and in what is typical fashion when we encounter God, she runs and tells everyone in town what happened. Clearly she isn’t known to be a liar because many people believe her testimony and they run out to meet Jesus. Those who were willing, also encountered the love of Christ and their lives were changed. Awesome! Now here comes the kicker…they ask Him to stay with them and He agrees. Talk about being a rule breaker!
We already know that just stopping in Samaria raises eyebrows. Then we add talking to a Samaritan woman on top of that and well, it’s tabloid worthy. Now Jesus is actually going to stay with this riff raff for a couple days. Can you just see the eye rolling?! In saying yes to staying and spending time with the outcasts, the unwanted, Jesus breaks the rules and shows us that love trumps reputation. Loving the Samaritan people, ruffling the feathers of the establishment by building relationships, being in the “wrong place” didn’t shake Jesus at all, so why does it shake us?
Here’s the deal, there are no “those people”, there are only people. Jesus doesn’t just ask us to love our neighbor, He shows us how. He doesn’t care how it will look or what others will say and we have to follow His example. We must be willing to go wherever He leads, even if people in our lives don’t understand.
Here’s my prayer for you and me, “Jesus, show us where our “Samaria” is and show us how to love them with Your love.” Some rules have to be broken because they cause such amazing amounts of harm. Love breaks those rules every time.