9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him,
The woman was stunned that a male, much less a teacher, would ask her for a drink of water.
“How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?”
Instead of honoring Jesus’ request for water, the woman balked at His request. She did not refuse His request outright but introduced a side issue. She, however, was at a point of curiosity.
This Samaritan woman was not a full-blooded Jew. She was half Gentile. The tension between the Samaritans and Jews harked back to 722 BC when the Assyrians mixed captives from other nations with the Jews in Samaria.
For Jews have no dealings [association] with Samaritans.
This phrase is a comment from the apostle John, not the woman. This entire phrase should be a parenthesis. The apostle included this explanation to help Gentiles in Ephesus understand the culture of Canaan.
The word “dealings” means association. Jews normally would have no close social interaction with Samaritans. The Jew operated on a policy of avoiding Samaritans because they were half Jew and heretical in belief about the canon of Scripture. Their normal relationship was at arm’s length. Even with all this in mind, Jesus did not treat the woman as a second-class citizen. He did not make her feel inferior for her lack of pedigree.
The woman was surprised that a pure Jew would speak to a Samaritan, who was not of “pure” race but a mix of Jew and Gentile. Full-blooded Jews normally would not have any dealings with the half-Jew Samaritans. Centuries of mistrust between them produced a deep alienation.
Jesus broke through levels of prejudice to present His message.
Jesus did not make the woman at the well feel inferior to Him. He did not exclude her from interacting with Him. He did not allow race to be an issue with those with whom He interacted. There was no second-class person with whom Jesus would refuse to connect. He always dealt with people as individuals rather than representatives of a group. Neither would He allow another person’s creed or belief keep Him from relating to others. He would not allow gender to stop Him from connecting to a woman in need.
Since Jesus did not carry prejudice, why should we? Our Lord broke through levels of prejudice: (1) prejudice of the Jews, (2) prejudice of the Samaritans, (3) prejudice toward women in general, and (4) prejudice toward a social outcast in particular. Jesus was willing to reach the very lowest of people in spiritual pain. He was sympathetic to a woman’s spiritual state while at the same time He held a high spiritual standard.
Enmity between peoples or cultures has the possibility to blunt our witness. Jesus did not cave in to the biases of His culture. He offered salvation to people regardless of who or what they were. Jesus was more interested in winning the woman than winning an argument.