The Woman at the Well: When Can You (Afford to) Join the Movement?

January 6, 2015

Looking back at social changes in the world, it is often easy to think we would have had the courage to join the "fight" for justice. Oh, "I would have been a Christian!" "I would have been against slavery!!!" "I would have been for/against that war!!" I would have voted for/against..." But I wonder if we aren't giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt...

 

In John's story (John 4: 1 - 42) of the woman at the well, Jesus asks a Samaritan woman at a well (odd that she would be there alone, odd that she would be there at this time of the day - unless she was for some reason an outcast from the village women) for a drink of water and the woman thinks Jesus is asking for something else. It has been my experience that we often dismiss this woman as rather one dimensional, a woman defined by her questionable lifestyle, a woman that we can thank God Jesus came to save. But I would invite you to actually look at the text - she is far from one-dimensional: she is a survivor, a woman of intelligence, quick-wit, and discernment - besides being a woman living in circumstances that make her an outcast from the village women. She challenges Jesus to be honest in what he asks for, she challenges his Jewish-ness "superiority over Samaritans," and she discerns his message of hope.

 

And then she joins the Jesus movement in such a manner as to have her village forget who they had determined she was and follow her in this new hope.

 

I wonder how often people who do not come to church these days - how often they look at us who do come and wonder if we will ever wish we really were Christians.

 

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