Breaking Religious Taboos

Did you know that Jesus didn’t follow all the religious rules of His day? His methods weren’t welcomed in the established places of worship.  He hung out with the wrong crowd.  He overcame social and cultural barriers to reach people.  Jesus had to break many religions taboos to make a way to the Father for all of us.

In John 4:1-30, there is a story of the brief interaction between Jesus and a Samaritan Woman at the town well.

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. (v7-9)

Samaria was conquered Assyria 722 BC. The Samaritans intermarried with the foreigners. Therefore they were not regarded as fully Jewish. At the time of Jesus there was a lot of hatred between them. Jesus’ dealings with this woman illustrates His ministry breaking down barriers between Jews and Samaritans.

Jesus broke several taboos with this meeting.  He broke the racial prejudice that Jews had against Samaritans.  He broke the religious bias towards the Samaritans as being inferior Jews or ‘unclean’.  Last Jesus tackled the chauvinist view of women that was prominent in His culture.  Jesus often broke taboo as to how women should be treated.

Mary Magdalene; Joanna, the wife Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and other women traveled with Jesus contributing their own resources to support Him and His disciples. (Luke 8:1-3) This was scandalous for a woman to leave her homes and travel with a rabbi.  Unheard of!  Unthinkable!  Yet Jesus had several woman travel with Him throughout His ministry time.  In the orthodox, first century temples women and men were separated by a screen.  Jesus was one of the world’s first feminists treating woman as ‘joint-heirs’ of salvation.

Why is this important to us today?  Because to truly follow Jesus we must break down the social, cultural and even religious taboos we have been taught.  These things keep people from following God.  More next blog.

4 thoughts on “Breaking Religious Taboos

  1. Sam Lamanna says:

    I love this Topic on the Taboos. I think in American churches we have a lot of hidden and secret Taboos. This Topic can go a long ways. We tend to become religious too easy and just modernise it so it looks a little different but it is still religious.

    Pastor Lon do you think interpretation plays a big role in the Taboos people set up?


    • I totally agree. People who don’t have stained glass or pipe organs think they can’t be religious but religion is about rules and tradition. Anyone can fall into that trap of making rules, establishing NON-biblical traditions and worshipping the form instead of the one who formed us.


  2. Daphne J says:

    Absolutely! And when we take into consideration WHO was used as the first witness to his resurrection, that blows everything out of the water. Women were not considered credible witnesses in legal proceedings in that culture. When we think about the male and female characteristics of God, and the different strengths, gifts, and multiple perspectives people bring into the mix, it becomes clear that so many churches are only functioning at partial strength by limiting the input of a huge portion of their population. We become lopsided and imbalanced. Jesus was on to something!


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