For this reflection, we find ourselves in the Gospel of John 4.
Jesus and the disciples were on their way back to Galilee from Judea. On the way, they stopped in a village in Samaria. While the disciples went to go get food, Jesus rested at Jacobs Well (mentioned in Genesis 33, not the one in Texas). It was around noon and a Samaritan woman had come to draw water. Jesus asked her for a drink.
Jesus was a (BROWN NOT WHITE) Jew and this woman was a Samaritan. Because of racism, Jews didn’t have anything to do with Samaritans. Also, men did not converse with women without the presence of their husband (
I wish that’s how it was today. LOL).
This conversation was no accident. Racial and gender lines were broken by Jesus even initiating this conversation. A Jewish man talking to a Samaritan woman was NOT the social norm. There are social norms I tolerate, there are even social norms I appreciate. I’m so glad that Jesus knew when to break the rules.
The woman said so too, vs. 9 says “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”
Jesus replies in vs. 10 “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me and I would give you living water.”
At this point, the woman (whose name we never know) and Jesus are talking about two different types of water. The woman was focused on the law. Jesus was focused on grace. Still focused on H2O, the woman tells Jesus he doesn’t have a rope or a bucket. So where are you going to get this water?
I enjoy how bold this woman is. He’s a Jew, she’s a Samaritan. He’s a man, she’s a woman. But she is still taking time to boldly question him. Sometimes as Christians, we are hesitant to question God. This woman is a great example of how bold we can be in our questions to Jesus. I’m so glad that he can and will answer our questions!
Jesus breaks it down. verse 13: “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again…”
The woman asks for this water. She doesn’t want the water for spiritual reasons. She’s concerned about her physical thirst and her social status. She’s come to the well at noon. Nobody would come to the well at the hottest time of day, I imagine drawing water from a well is physically taxing. Since everybody came to the well at the same time. It was as social as it was practical. Why was this woman even at the well alone at noon?
To answer her question, Jesus tells her to ‘Go and get her husband.’
Me: “Now, Jesus. You know that woman ain’t got no husband.”
Jesus wasn’t being shady though. According to the law, men couldn’t converse with women in public without their husband. But also, He was (gently) addressing her sin. Jesus didn’t come up on the woman and say “YOU A HO!”. He approached the woman humbly. By asking her to draw water for him he made her useful. He made her seen. He asked her He started a conversation.
“I don’t have a husband.” (verse 16) the woman replied. Jesus says in verse 17, “You’re right, you don’t have a husband. For you have had five husbands and you aren’t married to the man you’re living with now.”
Me: Dag Jesus, you gon just call sis out like that?!
I bet she was at the well cause she had slept with somebody’s man and the girls ain’t like her.
5 Husbands is a LOT. But when we look at the social context of the time, when a woman’s husband died, she became a beggar, a prostitute or somebody else’s wife. Since men dropped like flies due to war, famine and disease, sis just chose the best option.
I’m so glad single is an option now.
It was this moment that she realized she wasn’t just talking to a regular guy. She also got called out and changed the subject. LOL. vs. 19. You must be a prophet. 20 So tell me why is it that you Jews insist Jerusalem is the only place of worship while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mt. Gerizim where our ancestors worshiped?
Jesus replies in verse 21-24. “… the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship… on this mountain or in Jerusalem… salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming… when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth”
If I was Jesus, I woulda been like “Girl, don’t try to change the subject!” But He answered and in His answer addressed racism and sin. Jews were the chosen people. The 12 Hebrew tribes were those saved from slavery in Egypt and recipients of the promised land. They also had very strict religious laws to follow to stay in good standing with God.
Jesus came to shake all that up. With his sacrifice, the veil in the temple was torn and now we ALL have access to God is thorough Jesus.
Thank God, I don’t wanna slaughter no animals.
So how did Jesus address racism, sexism and most importantly sin? The Water.
He used the earthly relevance of the water to start a conversation across racial and gender lines, and show the woman that He had living water; that HE IS living water.
To evade Jesus even further, she says “I know the Messiah is coming… he will explain everything to us.” Jesus tells her, “I AM the Messiah!”
I think I would’ve been skeptical. The woman wasn’t though. She left her water,
she didn’t grab no shoes or nothing and went back to her village telling everyone, “Come see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?”
As a result of her testimony, many Samaritans in her city believed in Jesus. Somebody had to tell you about Jesus. Somebody’s salvation will come about from your testimony. So tell someone about your Jesus encounter.
Also, I believe this story is a good argument for women preachers. But I’m not arguing with Baptist negros today.
Imagine going to run an errand and meeting Jesus. Where did you meet Jesus?
“There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” Galatians 3:28-29
Until next time,