In John 4 Jesus was facing tremendous opposition from the Pharisees. He had just left Jerusalem and traveled north to Galilee. In order to get to Galilee, the shortest route took Him through Samaria. The Samaritans were a mixed race, part Jew and part Gentile. Jews wanted nothing to do with Samaritans because they could not prove their genealogy. The Jews had become prejudice. This prejudice was so strong that some Pharisees prayed that the Samaritans would not be raised in the resurrection! In John 8:48 it tells us that when Jesus’ enemies wanted to call Him an insulting name, they called him a Samaritan.
Growing up I was fortunate to have lived near lakes and water. Water and water activities were part of our family life. My mom never learned to swim. However, she knew living around water posed many dangers as well as joys and fun. Therefore, swimming lessons became a normal summer activity. Our first swim lessons were at CSU with the CSU swim coach, Mr. Solo. He was a no-nonsense coach. “Learning to swim is serious business,” he would say. “We are here to learn, not have fun! Fun is what you do after you have learned the skills of swimming.” If I could put it another way, he was telling us that you cannot save others until you can save yourself.
Recently I heard an interview with the United States Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. He shared that when a new law clerk comes to work for him, he asks them to write their obituary. Why, you might ask? He did not want them to lose focus or forget who they were and why they were there. Oddly enough, he found upon reading the obituaries that it was not fame or fortune, but family, friends, and making a difference that they wrote about. He also asked each one to keep a copy in their desk and to look at it each month in order to remind them of who they wanted to be!
Kathy Niswender is the wife of our pastor.