In short, we treat people as a means to an end. We don't have friends--we have contacts. We maintain relationships with people because of the things they can do for us.
In contrast, John 4 recounts the story of Jesus' interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well. The Samaritan woman couldn't do anything for Jesus. He was a Jew and she was a Samaritan woman. By all social mores, he shouldn't have even talked to her. Further, the woman was probably the talk of the town as she had been divorced five times and she was living with a sixth guy to whom she wasn't married. The whole conversation would have been a little scandalous.
But Jesus was always a little scandalous. He didn't care about the kind of social standing a person had. He didn't use people to climb the social ladder. He treated people like people. In the same way, we should treat people like people, not like a means to an end. Maybe we all need a few more friends and a few less contacts.
You can listen to this sermon, others in The Good Life series, or any recent sermons by me or Gary Albert here.