There are a few things about the story of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-42) that people wouldn’t normally pick up on:
First, Jesus intentionally went through the region of Samaria. Remembering our reflections earlier this week, Jews and Samaritans didn’t get along. Most times, people like Jesus and his followers would have intentionally NOT went through Samaria, but would have went around it.
Second, notice that Jesus was hanging around the well at noon… and there was no one else there. Who goes to the well at noon? Of course we would know this because we just go to the faucet any time we need some water. But, think about it… people went to the well first thing in the morning to get what they needed to start the day. Especially in Samaria when it got really hot during the noontime hours. So, who went to the well at noon? Someone who didn’t fit in… someone who would not be welcomed when the well was hustling and bustling.
Third, Jesus actually talks to this Samaritan woman. No big deal we might think, in our day and age men and women talking is normal. But, not then and not there and not between a Jewish Rabbi and a Samaritan woman outcast. The scripture actually reflects this when the woman asks Jesus about it (and the writer of the Gospel makes a note in parenthesis): The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) (John 4:9)
Why do I bring all of this up? Because the whole point of the story is to show how Jesus was not concerned with whether someone was popular or unpopular, accepted or rejected, powerful or marginalized, right or wrong, good or bad, or any other classification human kind uses to create in-groups and out-groups.
In a real way God is ready to meet all of us at the place and time where we feel most lowly and outcast. In a real way God is ready to meet all of us as we are… faults and all.
Final note about the story of the Samaritan woman at the well… Jesus is the one who initiated the conversation. He started it! He said, “Will you give me a drink?” (John 4:7). He might as well have said: “Will you give me a chance?” or “Will you trust me?”.
I think everyone should look around for those opportunities in life where God might be saying these same words to us.