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Rarely do we see ‘gentleness of heart’ and ‘strength of character’ demonstrated in one person. Either a person is too soft and a pushover or too heavy handed and stubborn.  Either way, we feel uncared for.  Someone who is too soft won’t encourage us to move forward and someone who is too strong won’t be concerned for where we’re at.  But because Jesus is both saviour and ruler, he is the perfect blend of compassion and strength.

An example in the Bible that comes to mind is an encounter between Jesus and a woman from Samaria.  In the first century the Jews didn’t associate with the Samaritans.  In order to show the woman who he is, Jesus has to break down the barriers of religion, ethnicity, gender and marital status.  It is instructive to see how he breaks down all the barriers of prejudice.

Firstly, Jesus doesn’t let the barriers get in the way of relationship. He is not afraid to ‘name’ the de facto relationship that she is in and also, her five previous marriages. But at no stage does he judge her.  In short, he treats the Samaritan Woman as one who bears the image of God.

Secondly, Jesus is not afraid to speak of deeper spiritual realities. Early in the conversation, the woman is focussed on the “here and now”. She is looking for her thirst to be quenched. She is at a watering hole (a well) in the midday sun and she can’t see past her need for water.  Jesus isn’t unaware of this.  In fact the conversation starts with his request for a drink.  But he has bigger plans for the woman.  He quickly moves the conversation from actual water to “living water” or “new life” which lasts forever.  He moves from quenching physical thirst to spiritual thirst.

Thirdly, Jesus not only promises “new life” but shows how it can be enjoyed. “New life” is obtained through trust in him.  Because he is both saviour and ruler of God’s kingdom, it is not arrogant for Jesus to show that he is the source of the woman’s hope. By the end of the conversation she not only has found spiritual refreshment in this life but a certain hope in the next.

The key to remember is that nothing beats discovering Jesus for yourself. You can read about this incredible encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman in John’s gospel (chapter 4). If you don’t have a copy, send us an email and we will send you out a copy free of charge.  The whole gospel (biography) is written so that you too may trust in Jesus.