A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." (John 4:7 NRSV)
Morris Dees is a lawyer, activist, and the head of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama. He's also one of the most hated men in the South. He has carved a career out of prosecuting hate crimes and advancing the cause of civil rights. Dees has used the power of the law to cripple the Klan and other hate groups. In the face of constant death threats and intimidation, Morris Dees refuses to back down one inch.

Where did Dees get his commitment to equality? He credits his father with teaching him his ideals. His father hired many African-American people to work on their farm. Throughout the day, little Morris would often carry the water bucket out to the exhausted workers. He recalls seeing his father drinking out of the same dipper an African-American woman had just used. That sort of thing was unheard of back then. But Mr. Dees didn't have a problem with it. And his son, like all children, watched and learned. You and I look to Jesus, and watch and learn. Jesus defied racial and religious stereotypes when he asked the Samaritan woman for a drink. Even the woman was shocked. "How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?"

Lord Jesus, shape my heart into an inclusive one. In Jesus name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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