The “In-Between” People
“Jews have no dealings with Samaritans,” said Gospel writer John. (John 4:9) And a study of Jewish writings bears this truth out, as Bible scholar A. Edersheim writes: “Matters proceeded so far, that they were entirely excluded from fellowship.” Yet we might call them an “in-between” people, for Jews did not view them “as Gentiles, but placed [them] on the same level as an ignorant Jew . . . they were not treated as heathens, and their land, their springs, baths, houses, and roads were declared clean.” Samaritans being socially despised yet viewed by the Jews as having certain legal and moral privileges, we can see how Jesus could drink water at a Samaritan woman’s hand, his disciples could buy food in their city and Jesus could spend two days with them.—John 4:7, 8, 40.