WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MARCH 25, 2021
TOPIC: ELIMINATING DISCRIMINATION TO FULFIL YOUR DESTINY
BY T. O. BANSO
“Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse 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 4:7-9 New Living Translation).
In Luke 9, Jesus, despite knowing that there was no love lost between the Jews and the Samaritans, wanted to go through a Samaritan village on His way to Jerusalem. The Jews and Samaritans saw themselves as enemies, but Jesus did not see the Samaritans as enemies.
Luke 9:51-56 says, “As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, ‘Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?’ But Jesus turned and rebuked them. So they went on to another village” (New Living Translation).
You may not appreciate the unsuccessful attempt Jesus made to go through a Samaritan village until you read John 4 where He also went to a Samaritan village. He never considered anywhere a no-go area for Him in the pursuit of His life’s work for just about three years. No wonder, He recorded outstanding successes.
Let me give you a brief background of the Samaritans. Following the fall of the Northern kingdom and her capital, Samaria, to the Assyrians, many Jews were carried as captives to Assyria and replaced with foreigners to help keep the peace (2 Kings 17:24).
These foreigners intermarried with the Jews who remained in the land. This resulted in a mixed-race, the Samaritans, which the rest of the Jews in the Southern kingdom considered impure and hated. In addition, the Samaritans had gone ahead to build a rival temple at Mount Gerizim (John 4:20).
They had their own version of the Torah or Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament, called the Samaritan Torah or Pentateuch. They believe it is the original. There are still some Samaritans today. Their religion or religious doctrine is Samaritanism, compared to Judaism practised by the Jews.
The hatred the Jews had for the Samaritans was so serious that they often avoided traveling through Samaria. They would turn round to follow a longer route. However, Jesus violated this discriminatory tradition. He took the route avoided by the Jews. There is a lot to learn from the life and ministry of Jesus Christ if you are to fulfill your own destiny too. You must be ready to disagree with their preconceived ideas and tradition.
John 4:1-9 tells us the depth of the animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans which Jesus refused to accept, and instead, chose to reach out to the Samaritans. “Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John (though Jesus himself didn’t baptize them—his disciples did). So he left Judea and returned to Galilee. He had to go through Samaria on the way. Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime.
“Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse 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 4:1-9 New Living Translation).
You are never going to achieve God’s purpose for your life if you discriminate against people based on race, tribe, sex, gender, etc. Jesus avoided this type of discrimination. He related with all manners of people – people of diverse religious, social, and family backgrounds. He related with children, women, widows, etc. He never discriminated; therefore,
He was able to impact His world maximally. Some people were brought up to hate certain tribes and certain people who belong to certain religions. That’s not what God’s Word says. God is love (1 John 4:8). He loves the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die for the world (John 3:16).
Love is a command and not subject to your personal preferences and idiosyncrasies. Jesus said you should love your neighbour as yourself. (Mark 12:29-31). Beyond that, He said you should love even your enemies and pray for those who persecute and abuse you (Matthew 5:43-48). This is not easy for the natural man to do, but that is God’s standard. It takes the Spirit of God to do it. Luke 6:27-36 also says a similar thing.
Let’s go back to the story of the Samaritan woman. The woman was shocked that a Jew could ask her for water, considering the enmity between the Jews and the Samaritans. Against this backdrop of hostility between the two and seeing a Jew she had never met before telling her about her marital misadventure, this woman quipped, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet” (John 4:19 New King James Version).
She then immediately switched over to ask a religious question, apparently to divert attention from her marital crises and her sinful life. However, Jesus played along with her, answering her religious question on the differences in the belief of the Jews and Samaritans on the place to worship.
Jesus gave her the right answer that neither the Jews nor the Samaritans were right, but the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth (verses 23-24).
Following the woman’s reference to the Messiah, called Christ, coming to tell them all things, Jesus answered that He was the Messiah. The Samaritan woman left her water-pot, ran into the city to proclaim to the people, and asked them to come to see a man who told her all the things she ever did. She said, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (Verse 29 New King James Version).
From the Bible account, Jesus, actually, didn’t tell her all the things she ever did, but the little that Jesus told her about her marital mess, thoroughly convinced her about the identity of Jesus. “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’” (verses 17-18 New Living Translation). What a mess!
The woman progressed from seeing Jesus as a Jew to seeing Him as a prophet, and eventually, as the Messiah. He came to the progressive realization that the person she had been speaking with was not an ordinary Jew, but the expected Messiah.
The point is: if Jesus had followed the Jewish tradition, He wouldn’t have been able to minister to this woman. She wasn’t the best, but God used her to open the door of the Samaritan village to Jesus. The woman, who had such a bad reputation of having married five husbands and the sixth one she was living with was not even her husband, became an evangelist! She became a proclaimer of the gospel.
Verse 39 of John 4 says, “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did’” (New King James Version). She met the seventh Man – Jesus! Jesus became the seventh man in the life of the woman – He was the completer! She wouldn’t need another man again.
God does not want you to submit your life and destiny to the mere sentiments and tradition of your society. You can make the best decision of your life today. This woman with a marital crisis met Jesus and her life changed. You may have met other men and other women before now, but you need to meet Jesus.
He will give you a new start no matter how ugly your past is. He will put together the broken pieces of your life no matter how shattered your life is. You may have tried other gods, but you need to open your heart to the Living God, your Creator.
You may have used the wisdom and ideas of other people before now, but it is time for you to embrace the wisdom that comes from heaven. The first step towards breaking through barriers is to give your life to Jesus. Today is your day of salvation; don’t delay any longer.
I want you to take note of this: although some Samaritans in Luke 9:51-56 resisted Jesus from passing through their village to Jerusalem, the Samaritans in the village of the woman in John 4 begged Jesus to stay with them for two days in the city just through the ministry of this woman.
This happened because Jesus broke through existing socio-cultural and religious barriers, to interact with, and minister to this woman. He started by requesting a drink from the Samaritan, a taboo for Jews.
To be associated with a Samaritan in Jesus’ day was like a curse, but Jesus had no problem associating with the Samaritans because He came to die for the world, including the Samaritans. To tell you how much Jews detested this act of Jesus, the Pharisees called him a Samaritan at a time just to insult him. “Then the Jews answered and said to Him, ‘Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?’” (John 8:48 New King James Version).
To fulfil your destiny, you must overcome the barrier of discrimination whether based on race, tribe, colour, sex, gender, or religion. Hear the apostle Paul, “For though I was free from all men, I made myself a servant to all, so that more might have salvation. And to the Jews I was as a Jew, so that I might give the good news to them; to those under the law I was the same, not as being myself under the law, but so that I might give the good news to those under the law” (1 Corinthians 9:19-20 Bible in Basic English).
He continued: “To those without the law I was as one without the law, not as being without law to God, but as under law to Christ, so that I might give the good news to those without the law. To the feeble, I was as one who is feeble, so that they might have salvation: I have been all things to all men, so that some at least might have salvation. And I do all things for the cause of the good news, so that I may have a part in it” (verses 21-23 Bible in Basic English). This should not be mistaken for destructive compromise.
Jesus didn’t allow societal discrimination to hinder Him from fulfilling His ministry. Paul didn’t. Don’t let it hinder you from fulfilling your ministry/destiny but also beware of destructive compromise.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of discrimination against my fellow human beings. By the help of the Holy Spirit, I shall no more discriminate against anyone or engage in destructive compromise. I shall walk in love towards all in Jesus’ name. Father, help me to fulfil my ministry/destiny.
(For about 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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