When a person meets Jesus, they are genuinely transformed. The story of the woman of Sychar, also known as the Samaritan woman, is one such story of a person experiencing remarkable change on meeting Jesus.
We read this lovely story in the Gospel of John chapter 4.
This woman from Sychar faced and managed about five significant barriers to the experience of the powers of transformation through a close interaction with Jesus.
• The Social barrier
• The Racial barrier
• The Gender barrier
• The Moral barrier
The woman from Sychar came to Jacob’s well to fetch water at about noon. Like tropical Africa, due to the heat, it was customary for the women to go for water early morning or evening.
She had a barrier to mingling with other women to draw water in the morning or late afternoon, towards dusk.
She must have probably lived a colourful controversial lifestyle in her village and therefore was kept at arm’s length. It seemed other women did not approve of her lifestyle.
A lonely woman, she goes to the well all alone to fetch water. But this woman who avoided the community crowd would go back to the village and freely and openly announce her remarkable meeting with Jesus the Messiah.
The woman was very surprised at Jesus talking to her because “Jews refused to have anything to do with Samaritans, “She said to Jesus, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?’ (John 4:9, NLT).
Across the world and at home in Ghana, tribal considerations and political grouping identity have prevented healthy collaboration and genuine business for the common good moving ahead.
Currently in Ghana, sadly political party membership have become the “new tribalism” preventing the best brains of the nation regardless of tribe or political party membership working together to move the nation forward to her desired goals to national development.
The gender barrier
She said in response to Jesus’ request, “I am a Samaritan woman”. Gender taboos would keep a Jewish Rabbi like Jesus from speaking to a woman, and a complete stanger to Him. But the Samaritan woman responded to Jesus though reluctantly. (v.7-9).
In her conversation with Jesus, the woman from Sychar raised religious barriers, “tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim, it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshipped” (John 4:20).
In a community of different faith claims, which one should we embrace? Who do we follow? Who do we worship?
Jesus dealt with this religious barrier she faced, “The time is coming indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way”. (John 4:23, NLT)
In this important conversation, Jesus did not ignore the sinful lifestyle of the woman from Sychar, (the Samaritan woman): “Go and get your husband”, Jesus told her.
“I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband - for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!” (John 4:16-18). The woman has had a colourful moral lifestyle – five different husbands and more!
In the presence of Jesus she must have become deeply convicted of her sinful lifestyle and repented of it because she ran back to her village, to the very people she had tried to avoid, saying to them “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did…. Could he be the Messiah?(John 4:29).
“The people came streaming from the village to see Him”. They invited Jesus to stay with them for two days and share His good news of salvation with more people. And they concluded, “Now we believe not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard Him ourselves.
Now we know that He is indeed “the Saviour of the world” (John 4:42, NLT).
This is amazing. The morally colourful woman of Sychar became a witness of Jesus life transforming power in her own village. She met Jesus and was genuinely transformed.
What is your story of meeting Jesus?