What Do You See in Sychar?

October 15, 2011

One day when Jesus needed a break from the Pharisees’ antics, he left Judea and headed back to Galilee for a while. Instead of taking the typical Jewish route east across the Jordan River and up, he headed due north through Samaria.

As the disciples strolled into the village of Sychar, the alien territory vibes were strong. They looked around and saw a despised race of people who looked different, talked different, and worshipped different. Left to their own devices, the disciples would never have been there at all. Most Jews refused to have anything to do with Samaritans (John 4:9), and the disciples were not yet able to see beyond what their culture told them to see.

Jesus, doing the will of his Father, saw something entirely different in Sychar—something that made his travel route an unquestionable necessity. He saw a field ripe for harvest—a village full of people who were ready to meet a Savior.

The disciples left Jesus at Jacob’s well and went off to fill their bellies. When they returned, they were dismayed to find what looked to them like Jesus breaking a centuries-old taboo—conversing not just with a Samaritan but with a Samaritan woman.

What Jesus probably saw instead was a beloved child of God with a desperately thirsty soul—a cherished daughter who had been passed around from man to man for most of her adult life. Not only that, but he probably knew she would need only a sip of his living water before she would run back to the village and sprinkle it like quick-grow fertilizer over everyone she knew.

Ask any Jew, and you would probably be told that the Samaritans weren’t interested in the truth, that they would be the last people to repent and place their faith in the Messiah. Yet, the people of Sychar came running to Jesus, and many of them believed. A village was changed that day because Jesus ignored the boundaries of human bigotry and crossed over into Samaritan territory with a message of love and truth.

We each have a Samaria in our lives. At least one. A place of strange, unfamiliar people whom we go out of our way to avoid. Where is your Samaria?  Is it an inner city neighborhood? Is it a community of illegal immigrants or with people of Arabic descent? Is it with people who doubt God’s existence? Is it an AA meeting or a homeless shelter?  A hospice room inhabited by HIV positive women? A street corner where prostitutes earn their trade?

I heard about some women from a church in San Diego who visit strip clubs and deliver gift bags to the exotic dancers who work there. Imagine the impact of that simple but courageous act of grace by people who are usually associated more with self-righteous condemnation.

When God sends you into Sychar, will you go and will you see what He sees? Can you cross over into hostile territory and reach out to some thirsty foreign woman who desperately needs a cup of living water?

3 responses to “What Do You See in Sychar?”


    Lynn, I read this article you wrote this afternoon and felt a tug at my own heart to step out of my comfort zone and reach out to those whom I usually shy away from. Thank you for such a moving message from our Lord’s Word.

    Look up because our redemption is drawing very nigh!

    God Bless your work for Him.

    Lenore Daniels
    Collinsville, VA

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