Relating to Those Different from Us
"The Samaritan woman said to him, 'You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?'" (John 4:9).
Do you find it difficult to relate to others who are different than you? Do you shy away from interacting with those who may have a different belief?
Jesus interacted with his culture and especially those who thought differently than He. When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well it was much like a Christian speaking to a Muslim or a Jew speaking to a Palestinian. Jesus built a relationship with the woman instead of taking an adversarial position.
In order to influence our culture it is vital believers engage with those unlike us. We often assume others who come from other cultures do not want to engage with us. This is a deception from Satan. Many who grow up in other faiths do so as a cultural tradition, not because they have strongly held beliefs. For instance, many Muslims do not know what is in the Quran and simply believe what they are taught based on tradition.
Every person is looking for a genuine relationship with God. Jesus operated based on that assumption. Notice how Jesus engaged with the woman.
"Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water." He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back." "I have no husband," she replied. Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true." "Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet (John 4: 13-19).
Once Jesus established a rapport with the woman He began to engage with her. He spoke supernaturally into her life which broke through the religious spirit which prevented a theological debate. This led to faith in Christ and even the city being impacted.
Why not seek out a relationship with someone different from yourself. You'll be surprised how God might use you.