The woman said, “I don’t know about that. I do know that the Messiah is coming. When he arrives, we’ll get the whole story.”
“I am he,” said Jesus. “You don’t have to wait any longer or look any further.”
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.
The woman took the hint and left. In her confusion she left her water pot. Back in the village she told the people, “Come see a man who knew all about the things I did, who knows me inside and out. Do you think this could be the Messiah?” And they went out to see for themselves. — John 4:25-30, The Message
Sure I could wax eloquent about Jesus’ response to the woman’s statement about the Messiah. I mean it is remarkable isn’t it? A Samaritan woman waiting expectantly for the Messiah, a whole Samaritan town, for that matter, waiting for the Messiah. All of this would be mind bending stuff in the first century. John, in telling this story this way, was blowing categories left and right for his Jewish readers.
Yet, this is not the part that really grabs my attention.
No, what really grabs my attention is this, “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.”
This woman came to the well at midday, in the heat of the day, and this meant that she was not interested in engaging with the other women of her village. She was living a life of shame. Her own shame and likely being shamed by those in her village. This woman was not someone that would have been considered to have “high moral virtue.” No, she definitely fit into the, “One of those people,” kind of categories.
The disciples showed up and were shocked. Probably first that Jesus was talking to a Samaritan, second that he was talking to Samaritan woman, and third that he was talking to a Samaritan woman who was clearly immoral. Peterson’s translation gets it right on the money, “that kind of woman.”
Jesus was always doing that.
He was always talking to that “kind of woman.”
There always seemed to be the person that he shouldn’t talk to hanging around. But did Jesus care? Nope! He went right ahead and spent time with them.
Jesus wasn’t worried about what other people thought of him. He had an audience of one, so to speak, and this freed him to love well. When you no longer care about trying to please others you are able to love people who some have determined to be unlovable.
There was no tribal affiliation for Jesus. He pursued the way of love, that was his dogma. This way of love lead him to talk to people like the Samaritan woman and leave even his disciples in utter shock.
Who are you afraid to talk to? Who are “those people” that your tribe wouldn’t approve of? Why are you worried about what they think?
When we follow the way of Jesus we no longer have to worry about what others think. Our only concern is to love like him and live like him. When we do, we will love well and live life to the full!