Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

That Cheeky Woman at the Well

I love this story. I love all the stories about these women, who just won’t stay in their place. What was Jesus thinking? Why would he start a conversation with this woman, a woman not even married to the man with whom she is living? Listen to her tone, can’t you hear her words, barely bordering on mockery?

It doesn’t take long, and the women to whom Jesus speaks sees the light – that this man is something special, and has something special to offer her, even her, the most humble of the humble.

If I had never lived in the Middle East, I would never have understood the nuances of this story, how men just don’t speak to women, how speaking to this woman, not a Jew, a very unclean woman, could make him unclean, how taking anything from her, much less asking for a drink of water was just unthinkable.

Jesus turned it all upside down. He often did the unthinkable – working on the sabbath, speaking to women as if they were real people, talking about how it is what is in our hearts that matters more than looking good in public . . .

John 4:1-26

4Now when Jesus* learned that the Pharisees had heard, ‘Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John’— 2 although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized— 3he left Judea and started back to Galilee. 4But he had to go through Samaria. 5So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.

7 A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’. 8 (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.)

9 The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.)*

10 Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink”, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’

11 The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?’

13 Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’

15 The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.’

16 Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come back.’

17 The woman answered him, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying, “I have no husband”; 18for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!’

19 The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you* say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.’

21 Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’

25 The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.’ 26 Jesus said to her, ‘I am he,* the one who is speaking to you.’

August 11, 2010 Posted by | Cultural, ExPat Life, Middle East, Spiritual | Leave a comment