Posted by: Walk.Build.Proclaim | June 13, 2013

Un-named Woman at the Well

Today we have a very special guest blogger. Brenda is a very old and dear friend of mine. She and I were talking about different women that were being featured this week, I asked her who she would choose to write about and it didn’t take long to get her answer, the un-named woman at the well in John’s Gospel.

Brenda was then off to the next part of the task of choosing red-shoes to represent the woman at the well, she chose something very practical yet incredibly appropriate.  Thank You Brenda for sharing with us your appreciation for the Woman at the well.

John’s Gospel story of The Samaritan Woman at the Well features all the characteristics of a great novel – irony, misunderstanding, intrigue, and symbolism.

Jesus and his disciples are passing through Samaria and stop to rest – Jesus sits down by Jacob’s well, and his disciples go into town for food. A Samaritan woman approaches the well to draw water. Jesus asks her for a drink of water, and so begins an interesting conversation between the two.

It’s important to note that Jews and Samaritans were not friends, to say the least! For Jesus to even pass through Samaria – which would be considered unfriendly territory – was a big deal, as was the fact that he was talking to a woman. This is symbolic of the fact that Jesus’ mission extended to all people, regardless of race, gender, origin, or status.

We can take a few cues from the details in the story– for example, note that the woman was drawing water at noon. This would have been the hottest part of the day, and long after dawn when all the other women would have come to draw water. We can therefore infer that this woman was somehow considered an outcast amongst her people.

Jesus tells the woman that he can give her living water – so that she would never thirst again! She misunderstands that he is referring to himself, but she is very intrigued by such an offer! Well water was stagnant and often dirty, and it was hard work coming to the well each day to draw water. The idea of having living water in abundance was very exciting….

Jesus surprises the woman by telling her things about her life – things that an ordinary stranger would not know. They talk of her personal life, about worship practices, and the fact that she has heard that a Messiah is coming. The woman asks if Jesus is the Messiah, and he responds, “I AM he.”

When the disciples return with food, they are astounded that Jesus is talking with a Samaritan woman! The woman runs off to tell her village about this man Jesus. The disciples offer Jesus food, but he responds that he has bread of which they are unaware. They are confused – did someone else bring him lunch? Jesus is of course speaking metaphorically about doing his Father’s work as his sustenance.

The woman returns with her entire village. The irony is that the disciples – already believers – brought Jesus lunch; while the woman – a Samaritan – brought her whole village to Jesus.  She embodies true discipleship and is the model of faith for us to follow, showing us that an encounter with Jesus can change our lives, helping us grow in faith and witness.

These shoes were chosen as a statement for the time period in which the woman at the well lived. They are bold in color and practical for the long dusty walks to the well.

These shoes were chosen as a statement for the time period in which the woman at the well lived. They are bold in color and practical for the long dusty walks to the well.

Prayer: Lord, you know everything about me, even the things I am hiding from myself. Give me the grace to admit my sin, believing that though you see me, you still love me. Help me to let go of anything that keeps me from experiencing the living water of your Holy Spirit welling up inside me. 


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Gary Neal Hansen

Theology. It's good for you.

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