John 4:1-5

The background for the story of the Samaritan woman. 

In about 722 B.C. the Assyrians invaded and conquered the northern kingdom of Israel. Many of the Israelites were deported, but some of the Israelites remained in the land. The northern kingdom of Israel became known as Samaria. Gradually the king of Assyria brought foreigners into the land. In time, some of the Jews and non-Jews (Gentiles) intermarried. Samaria became a mixed race. The Jews thought they had committed an unforgivable crime. A hatred developed between them. The Jews and the Samaritans tried to avoid each other as much as possible.

For example, from Judea, some Jews crossed over the Jordan River on the east side of Samaria to travel to Galilee. When they traveled north far enough, they crossed the Jordan River again to enter Galilee. Under normal circumstances, it would have made better sense to travel to Galilee through Samaria. It was the shortest route.

He (Jesus) left Judea and departed into Galilee. He needed to pass through Samaria

(John 4:3-4)Because of the tension that existed between the Jews and the Samaritans, why did Jesus feel like He needed to go through Samaria? The text doesn’t give us an answer. Could it be He felt like He had a mission to fulfill? Why did Jesus ask the Samaritan woman to Give me a drink (John 4:7)?“For a Jewish man to speak to a woman in public, let alone to ask from her, a Samaritan, a drink, was a definite breach of rigid social custom… (John Mac Arthur).

The story of the Samaritan woman will continue next week.

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