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Arguably, it could be said that there are many parallels between the figure of Jesus and a social worker and the many people he is recorded as having interacted with show how he was not afraid to associate with the down-and-outs of society and the kind of people that social workers normally work with. One particular incident that may be particularly important is in John 4, when Jesus speaks with a Samaritan woman and talks about "living water" and spiritual thirst. What is important to realise about this encounter is that Jesus is dealing with difference in a massive way in his conversation with this woman. Not only is there the obvious gender difference, which was a massive issue in those days, but also there was an ethnic difference as well, which the woman herself raises when Jesus asks her for a drink of water:
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.)
In addition, the woman is clearly somebody who is shunned even by her own society because of her sexual relations and the number of husbands she has had. Jesus therefore shows an excellent ability to deal with difference and to interact with this woman from where she is coming from, ministering to her spiritual needs but doing so in a way that respects her and shows her that he cares for her and wants to try and help her.
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