Posted by George Morrison

Well Woman Reimagined                    Word on the Week           17th April 2021.

It was a hot day in Samaria when Jesus arrived at the well.   He had sent his disciples off to a neighbouring village to get food and was resting when a woman from Sychar approached the well to get water.

Jesus asked her for some water.   This astonished her as she was a Samaritan and the Jews had nothing to do with these mixed race people.

In addition, she was a woman.   It was just not the done thing to speak to a woman in public.   She had come to the well in the heat of the day to get away from people.   She was not good at relationships.   Apparently she had had five husbands so in this regard she was quite contemporary!

Whether the husbands had died or divorced her it had not dissuaded the current boyfriend.   However, living together does not constitute marriage as Jesus pointed out (St John Chapter 4 verse 14).   We could reimagine the scene happening today.

Jesus was not bound by tradition or convention.   He reached out across the gender gap to talk to her at the risk of being misunderstood by his disciples. His concern to present her with the Scripture over-rode the accustomed norms of the place.

There was the ever present problem of race.   The Samaritans stemmed from foreign people brought in by the Assyrians in 722 BC. Over time they intermarried with the Jews who had remained in the area.   The mixed race had its own culture and version of the Pentateuch!   

Today we are all too familiar with poor race relations.   The underdog seldom gets the respect they deserve.   And when it comes to justice, as in the case of George Floyd in Minneapolis, it can be a long time coming.

Jesus showed no ethic prejudice.   He was critical of tradition but rock solid in his belief that Scripture was the Word of God.

All this enabled Jesus to engage with the woman at a deep level.   The exposure of her sin should have meant that a Rabbi like Jesus would not talk, touch or drink from a vessel tainted by a such a Samaritan.   Yet Jesus was not bound by any moralistic superiority.    He showed her love and respect by inviting her to take the living water which had been spurned so often in the past (Jeramiah Chapter 2 verse 13).

In today’s terms Jesus was not deflected by gender, race or sinfulness from seeking her salvation by revealing himself to her (St John Chapter 4 verse 26).