Result #1: If We Are Not Careful, Our Sense of Location Can Become Habitual.
3 He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. 4 But He needed to go through Samaria. 5 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” (John 4:3-7)
John records something interesting here. In v.4, he made the statement that Jesus “needed” to go through Samaria. Some translations say that He “had to go” through Samaria. Why did He need to go to here? Remembering how the Jews viewed the Samaritans (with indignation and hatred), this would have been an unorthodox travel route. Perhaps His need was a practical one. Maybe it was simply the straightest line between two places. Perhaps His need to go through Samaria was a spiritual one. Maybe there was a despised woman living in a despised land whose despised conduct had been nothing to write home about. Perhaps she was His single reason for choosing this route. A divine appointment if you will.
As your read the remainder of the chapter, you will see that His disciples viewed this detour as an inconvenience. They were on their way home and probably had their minds set on the destination. The disciples had lost their sense of place location. They had grown comfortable with people who were just like them and could not believe that Jesus would venture outside the “safe zone” of Israel. This problem belongs to the Church today. We have become slaves to certain locations. We navigate between safe zones. Tragically, we have been guilty of putting certain locations, and as a result people, off limits. Jesus was teaching the disciples that no location was off limits. He was teaching them that no people group or nationality were off limits. If we are not careful about missions, our sense of location can become habitual. Same places every day. Same faces every day. Same conversations every day. Same results. The Church must stretch. The Church must expand. The Church must go to the places what are overlooked. The location for missions is a both/and proposition, not either/or. Let’s not allow our habitual routines to cause us to miss those whom the world has written off and pushed to the fringe of society.