The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) John 4:9
“Hi, I’m Sonya.” The words were simple enough. But my life changed because of them.
At first glance, my friend Sonya and I don’t have much in common. It wasn’t always that way. When we first met that day when she took the time to talk to me, we both worked for the same Fortune 500 company. Neither of us had children. We became fast friends and had lunch together every day. We volunteered together through a local women’s club, and socialized weekends with our husbands. We were inseparable.
Before too long, Sonya had her first child. Then she had her second. By the time I had my first, she quickly followed with numbers three, four and five! Finally I had my second, and a year later she had her sixth.
Our parenting styles are very different. She has six children, and I am content with two. She homeschools, while I send my children to school. She cooks organic, and bakes her own bread. I cook occasionally, and frequent the McDonald’s drive thru.
Would we have dismissed each other as “too different” to be friends if we had met as moms instead of co-workers? What would I have missed out on if we had?
Sonya is the person who introduced me to Jesus, not just as a Savior, but as someone I could have a relationship with. She was there for me to help me get through difficult times with my alcoholic mother, and encourage me through years of infertility. I was there to support her through tough days of mothering six kids, and when her dad died unexpectedly.
I’m glad that we met before we were mothers, because I’m not sure I was confident enough in my own season of mothering a small child to be friends with someone who parented so differently.
What boundaries do we set up in life that exclude people who are different than us? Jesus showed us an example of inclusion when he spoke to the woman at the well. She was a Samaritan woman. Jews, like Jesus, didn’t associate with Samaritans. But Jesus not only spoke to her, but offered her eternal life, and revealed himself as the Savior of the world.
Because Jesus spoke to her, many of the Samaritans from her town came to believe, simply because of her testimony. Her life was changed forever because he took time to talk to her.
I’ve grown so much by experiencing life from Sonya’s point of view, and she has grown through mine. We are different, but our love and respect for each other is the same. Our friendship has lasted 18 years, and through many different seasons, and continues to grow.
Simply because Sonya took the time to talk to me my life was changed, for the better. Simply because Jesus took the time to talk to the Samaritan woman her life was changed for the better. Whose life can you change, simply by talking to and encouraging her today?
Kelly Combs is a Christian wife, mom, writer and speaker. You can learn about Kelly by visiting her website at www.kellycombs.com