If we are looking at John 4 through the lens of religion, there is a whole lot wrong with Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time asking the wrong question lead to a wrong perception of who Jesus is and what Jesus wants.
Check this out. Jesus is talking to the woman with the worst reputation in town, right? But as far as she knows, He does not know the extent of her immorality when He says, “Go, call your husband and come back.” But notice her response, “I have no husband.”
Why does she answer Jesus this way? I wonder if her statement, roughly translated, “I’m not married,” might have been an invitation to something more than just a drink of water?
Think about this from her point of view for a minute. Here was a Jewish rabbi who was where He should not be – Samaria, talking to someone He should not be talking to – a Samaritan woman, asking for things no good Jew would ever ask a Samaritan for – a drink of water. And now he tells her to go and get her husband.
It is at this point that I believe she perceives that Jesus is in Samaria for less-than-honorable purposes. I think that she thinks Jesus is in Samaria, “looking for love,” why else would she say, “I have no husband.” She rightly assumes that He has come here looking for her but she is woefully mistaken as to Jesus purposes with her. You see Jesus needed to come to Samaria because he needed to show real love to this woman.
Too often we allow the opinions of others and the perceptions of those around us to keep us from loving others well. “I can’t go there. I can’t do that. I can’t talk with her. What will people think?” “What will people think,” is that even the right question? What did Jesus’ disciples think? They thought He was crazy! What did the woman think? She probably thought Jesus was her next “client”.
Here is the reality, if we choose to go where Jesus went and do what Jesus did; religious people will think that we are crazy and sinful. Am I (are you) willing to be thought an immoral fool for the sake of those who need me (us) to go though my (our) “Samaria”?