Just The First Step (John 4:5-9)

“So how is Sally?”

“She’s very happy! She is working for an aerospace company as a design engineer!”

I was speaking to a dear brother and sister in the Lord who were beaming about their oldest daughter’s latest job. I was elated that she was working in a company where she could utilize her impressive engineering skills. However, there was more to this story.

“Yes, we are very happy. She had a rough time before she got her current position. She was previously working for a company that looked down upon women. All older men, typical of an engineering firm, and they would not give her a chance. She finally left when she found this new job.”

High schools and colleges have done an admirable job of encouraging and supporting young women to enter careers in engineering. While it has opened doors, once they walk through that door, some find themselves in the same room they thought they left behind. It was disheartening to learn that some of these previously male dominated occupations still created a toxic work environment for women. It did not matter whether the women were qualified or had successfully worked in other major engineering firms. This was their domain and they would not surrender it without displaying their male chauvinism. 

After speaking to my friends, I realized breaking down educational barriers was simply the first step. The workplace also needs to change and that requires a reset of management and the culture. As my friend’s daughter discovered to her dismay, this is easier said than done.

Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” 

John 4:5-9 (NLT)

In this touching passage from the Gospel of John, Jesus Christ broke down many barriers: cultural, racial, and gender. He interacted with everyone from all levels of society, all races, and opened the doors for women. As was alluded to in the passage, there was a long history of animosity and racism between the Jews and Samaritans. Compounding these issues was the fact that a Jewish man did not usually interact with a Samaritan woman in this manner. Did Jesus succeed in creating a society that accepted everyone as readily as He did? We learn a few verses later that a transformation in the Samaritan society had indeed begun.

Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.” 

John 4:39-42 (NLT)

Societal change is difficult and takes time. As Jesus Christ demonstrated, He opened the door and took this first step in an ancient society, breaking down barriers. We, as part of our society, can assist in breaking down more barriers, but it takes more than the first step, it requires a change in the heart. Only faith and belief in Jesus Christ can change our hearts. The complete change will come when all declare that Jesus Christ is indeed the Savior of the world.

Amen!

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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