"If unity matters to Jesus, it should matter to us." What does the Bible say about the gospel and race? Pastor Eugene Cho laid a biblical framework for us to take faithful next steps into a deeper conversation about what it looks like be Christians who don't simply love the idea of racial reconciliation but want to be a part of the solution. Using John 4:1-4 and the Woman at the Well as a starting point, Pastor Cho challenged us to not only talk about Samaria but to ask Jesus for the strength to walk through Samaria ourselves.
Let's study more about this together.
Read this from the Bible together:
4 Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4 And he had to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
Some key statements and questions put forward that are important for us to talk about…
And he had to pass through Samaria. Jesus doesn't take the shortest route to get where he is going. Instead, he takes a detour that adds 3-4x the amount of time to his journey to go through the "dangerous and dirty" part of town. Why do you think Jesus did this? What does that reveal to you about his heart for the marginalized as well as his indifference to cultural protocol?
A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus engages the Samaritan woman. Not only was she considered ethnically "unclean" and morally compromised—but because she was a woman she held less value in her society. He crosses clear cultural lines and gets up close and personal with someone other people knew to avoid. Are there any people groups you avoid intentionally or unintentionally? Why is it important for the Jesus follower to engage with those outside of our cultural norm?
“How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Anthropologists tell us that we instinctively gather together with those who perpetuate our own personal culture. But the kingdom is to be built to reflect the image of God, not our own. Do you have a diverse group of friends? If so, how did that happen? If not, why do you think that hasn't happened yet?
"Christians love the idea of racial reconciliation until we realize it requires repentance, confession, forgiveness, and truth-telling." Have you ever had to confess or repent that you've been indifferent to the plight of those who've been oppressed by majority culture? Have you ever had to ask forgiveness for a racist comment or insensitive outlook? If yes, share the story. If not, why do you think that is?
“Relationships matter to Jesus and therefore must matter to the people of God." How often do you share your table with people who have different cultural backgrounds than you do?
"Reach Church can't be the whole church without you." Pastor Cho thanked our black and brown brothers and sisters for stepping out and making Reach their home. Go out of your way this week to thank someone who doesn't look like you for being a part of our church. And while you're at it, invite them over for a meal.