Pastor’s Thoughts

Feb 29, 2024

This weekend the church celebrates the Scrutinies for those who will be admitted into the church at Easter in the RCIA process. The gospel for the scrutiny is the story about the woman at the well who meets Jesus. There has been much written about this passage and it’s moral implications. First and foremost is the woman is a Samaritan. Historically, Jews and Samaritans did not get along. The reason is a bit intertwined in history. In 721 BC the Assyrians destroyed and conquered the northern kingdom. The Assyrians then deported most of the wealthy land owners, those who could read and write, those involved in government and leadership roles and shipped them to the outer ends of the Assyrian empire today would be Armenia and Iran. So now, the Assyrians import their people from their empire who were bright, rich, had leadership skills to now totally and completely conquer the Northern Kingdom from within most importantly, these new Assyrians didn’t believe in God they were pagans. Remember, the Assyrians left the uneducated, slaves, and prisoners in the Northern Kingdom. The newly imported Assyrians begin to intermarry with the Jews who were left and have children that look different they had different skin color, spoke differently, but most importantly was a defamation of their Judaism and their call from God to be His chosen people. The children of these interracial, interreligious marriages were called the SAMARITANS. So, interestingly in the gospel story, the woman is a Samaritan. She immediately has issue with Jesus as she knows his background. She was probably expecting Him to disregard her because of her background and the long hatred toward Jews and Samaritans. Notice thought how Jesus is able to peel back a lot of her hostility and prejudice and offer her ‘living water.’ She first address Jesus as a ‘Jew’, then ‘Sir’, then ‘prophet’. Finally she addresses Jesus as ‘Messiah.’ Jesus is able to peel away any hatred, bigotry, and misconception and offer her life. Are we able in our dealings with those who appear different to be Christ for them? Can we peel away past hurts, misconceptions, and anger to allow peace to flow between us? Yes, a challenge, but not impossible. We need to begin breaking barriers within ourselves before we can except change in our world today.