The Samaritan Woman - 5/10/2015
Division in the Bible is a prominent factor as it is today. The word for Satan in Greek is Diabolos and it has a literal meaning of two wills, two distinct directions that one could go. Satan is the master of division, and as long as he can cause discord and turmoil he is pleased. As anyone can see from events throughout history, division is destructive and evil; in itself it causes hatred, malice and war. Satan wants not only the believers and non-believers to remain divided, but also those in the church to remain at odds. If there is discord in the church, weakness abounds.
What we read in the Gospel of John about the Samaritan Woman is that there was a division among the tribes of Israel. The Samaritans were a mixed race and traditional enemies of the Jews at that time. They worshiped the same God that the Jews worshiped and were also waiting for the Messiah to come, they only accepted the first five books of the Old Testament as their scriptures. They had their own temple and their own customs and traditions. Because of this division, the Samaritans were not looked at as equals or even as believers, they were looked at as those who oppose the laws and the Jews were not allowed to barely speak or deal with them.
The difference in belief was enough for these people to be considered outcasts, not to mention the woman who Jesus spoke to was also married, or rather had lived with many men and the current one who was not her husband. For Jesus to even speak to her was something that even his disciples questioned. Women in general weren't treated as equals. The woman understood the division as something that was normal and even spoke to Jesus with the mind of division when she said, Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship. Notice the word she used to separate herself from Jesus, you Jews.
Do we not even see the same things today among the Christians? We Orthodox often spite ourselves, and we become elitists, saying that our faith is beyond compare. We often divide ourselves from, not only the world by saying that we are Greek or Russians or Romanians, but also separate ourselves from the world by saying that our faith is the true faith and anyone who is not Orthodox will not be saved.
Division also comes into play among the churches themselves. The Greeks believe that they show the truth over the American Orthodox, by either the words used in the services, or by the language that is used. Services are done in languages that only some of the community understands, while others are left in confusion and misunderstanding. Some of the Orthodox Churches use a different calendar to celebrate certain celebrations and argue the fact that they are right and the other is wrong — why argue? Why give Satan fuel to divide us among ourselves. Satan does a good job by himself among our people, and when division comes among the people, when we listen to him and allow our own faith to be dismantled because a small portion of the populous wants things to be a certain way we allow evil to thrive.
Do we not see division among the Christians when it comes to the debate over sexuality or homosexuality? Do we not see division with fear and hatred when it comes to society’s rules and regulation? If we followed the 2 simple commandments to love God and to love our neighbors we would have peace, but as I said Satan divides us and cause us to have extreme misunderstanding to the point violence, bloodshed, rioting and perversion run rampart and the line between good and evil is blurred. In the book of Isaiah, he states, in the end days people will call good evil and evil good. Even among the churches, we take the extreme in beating around the bush when it comes to salvation. Yes, all are welcome; yes, all have the same opportunity to be saved, but to allow sin to enter the church, to call evil good is crossing a line that we should not be crossing.
Jesus in his infinite wisdom bridged the gap between the nation of Israel, and the rest of the world. We were allowed to be grafted on the vine and to be accepted into a place that was only reserved for the nations of Israel. Jesus told the Samaritan woman that there would be coming a time where they would not be worshiping on the mountain or in Jerusalem but we would be worshiping the Father in spirit and in truth. We are to remember the fact that we, Christian, those of us who were not Jews are allowed access to Christ through grace.
Jesus came and brought unity, peace and salvation. Satan comes and brings division, upheaval and permanent death. Jesus did not turn this woman away; Hhe did not condemn her or follow the man-made traditions of the people. He preached against the lack of love, the lack of understanding and the lack of forgiveness. He came to her and offered the living water with which she would never thirst again after she drank. He offered her the revelation that He was the bridge between ALL mankind and his Father in heaven.
The people that followed God for so many years took His commandments and the faith that was given to them and turned it into a weapon to kill those who did not do what was right in their eyes. If their position or influence was threatened, which is what Christ did when He came; the Pharisees and the Sadducees used tradition, fear and hatred to crucify the very person that they waited to come to save them. But, still the hatred was turned into perfection and the death that Jesus died was used for good. The evil that was meant to end a believed rebellion sparked a rebellion that would carry on forever. That rebellion would allow a mercy and grace that would destroy the original rebellion that placed the permanence of death upon us.
With the coming of Christ, as I said above, allowed those of us who are not Jews access to the King of King’s mercy and love. We no longer have to sacrifice bulls and sheep to be forgiven, for Christ sacrificed himself for our salvation. The Churches were established by the disciples so that we could continue remembering what that sacrifice was. We worship the God who died and rose again, and with death Jesus destroyed the gates of hell and closed the rift that Adam created the day he divided himself from God’s love.
We live in a world that is shrouded in thick darkness, but as Psalm 91 says, we should not fear the terror by night, the pestilence in the day; we should not fear the anything that the enemy would bring. Our role as Christians is to trust God, not to fear. We have enough problems to worry about, division should not be something that should be a factor in our faith. And, by our faith, I am speaking about ANYONE who believes in Christ. With Christianity dwindling in numbers, we should be banded together, we should be bringing our faith to the table of the world; not arrogance, not pride, not deception and lies. Every faith has some sort of beauty to share with the world. We should not divide our wills, we need to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. We need to take up the armor of God and keep fighting off Satan and everything his world has in store for us.
Christ united us with Him forever more. All we must do is profess he is Lord and follow His footsteps. No, we will not do it perfectly, we will still sin, but we should strive to sin no more. We need to strive to bring our love to an unforgiving and unloving world.
One day we will stand before Christ, He will return and on the dread judgment seat, He will judge us all according to everything that we have done and said. We need to keep our will aligned with His. It is not something we can wait until tomorrow to do. We cannot wait until tomorrow to seek Him, to love Him, and to serve Him. We are called to be saints, for the idea of martyrdom is not a foreign concept, it is a concept that is meant for all times. We should only fear death if we are not prepared to die. Let us not divide ourselves from God, for He is our only salvation.