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.” So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own word. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”
The Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus was surprising in more than one way. When He first began speaking with her, she was taken aback because He was a Jew and she was a Samaritan. She expected him to think that she was beneath him and not worthy of engaging because of her heritage. We know from the story that Jesus also told her things that a stranger could not have known about her. Jesus revealing her own history to her opened her eyes to his knowledge and what the source of that knowledge must be. The fact that Jesus knew everything about her yet still engaged her is the real surprise here, and it is the same case for us.
This woman expected Jesus to keep his distance from her based on something as superficial as her bloodline. Based on cultural history, the gap between those two people groups was too wide. What she had not realized was that she was not just communicating with a Jew but with the King of the Jews. The real gap between her and Jesus is the gap between sin and perfection. He knew everything about her that made her unworthy of his attention. He knew every reason why she was too lowly to be in his presence. Despite this, He took that step and approached her to begin the conversation that would change her life. She met a Lord who would come down to meet her where she was and extend love.
We cannot love God without him loving us first. We cannot move toward his holiness without him drawing us in that direction first. All of these proactive steps that He takes to bring us to him are taken even though He knows just how fallen and flawed we are. It is one reason that shame and condemnation do not exist for those who turn to him. He first chose us knowing everything about us, and He still loved us, pursued us and changed us. He sees in us no surprises, no disappointments, but people He can make worthy of his fellowship and love. Father, thank You for loving us first despite all the reasons we have given You no to.