The theme of a spiritual wedding is arguably also foreshadowed in how John starts the book itself, for ‘beginning’ is a feminine noun in Greek and ‘word’ is masculine, making ‘in the beginning was the word’ sexually symbolic; that, in turn, suggests that the well before which Jesus and the Samaritan stand, or the water in it, symbolizes God, or at least the spirit of God. The story is found in the Book of John, Chapter 4:4-42. The woman had come to the well to draw water and, in the process, discovered Jesus was the Messiah. Angelica Kauffman’s 18th-century painting of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well. Both Nicodemus and the woman at the well must decide what to do with what Jesus has told them. In Truth and Charity: The woman at the well This Sunday, the Third Sunday of Lent, we will hear in the Gospel the story of the encounter and conversation of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. John 4:1-26) Verse 1-4: “when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Second, she was a Samaritan woman, and the Jews traditionally despised Samaritans. In making that comparison Sappho uses a form of the same Greek word John has the Samaritan use in her question to Jesus: the groom, Sappho says, is “much bigger than a big man.”. Most of the those “scholars” spoke with an arrogance that I found hard to swallow. 1 The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. Jesus & The Woman at the Well. BIG IDEA: I AM KNOWN BY JESUS AIM: ‘The Woman At the Well Encounters Jesus’ Childrens Lesson is intended to help children understand and think over the fact that Jesus knows all about them – the good things and the bad – and he loves them! Reason enough to give our sister from Samaria a fresh look. Jesus brings back the lost sheep to safety. The “woman at the well” is a Samaritan, and Samaritans have their own distinct religion—a corruption of the Jewish faith. Thank you very much. "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman," she reminded him. Modern English has a parallel: in the formulaic expression “I now pronounce you man and wife,” man means husband rather than simply ‘adult male,’ yet man can have an almost psychological meaning. It is correct to say the Samaritan had five ‘men’ (sexual partners) but not correct to say she has a ‘man’ as a partner. The Samaritan woman Jesus met faced prejudice from her own community. When I was writing a page (yes, just a simple page) about Sappho, I was overwhelmed with the amount of scholarship available. I have been one of those bad girls. Jesus knew her history but still accepted her and ministered to her. Above all, the story, which unfolds in John 4:1-40, suggests that Jesus is a loving and accepting God, … ( Log Out /  Here is my translation (the underlying Greek and links to interpretive resources can be found here): 16 [Jesus] said: “go tell your ‘man’ and come back here.” Very influential in antiquity, possibly including Vergil’s famous 4th ‘messianic’ eclogue (actually a wedding song). One of the encounters is between Jesus and a Samaritan woman, who is often referred to as the woman at the well. The story of the woman at the well is one of the most well known in the Bible; many Christians can easily give a summary of it. The woman at the well was searching for the one true God and she was trying them all and wasn’t satisfied with any of them, even the sixth one. They too were shocked to find him speaking to a woman. In order to appreciate the episode of the woman at the well, it helps to know some history. That resonates with how the groom at a Greek wedding would, with sexually charged humor, be compared to a god in wedding songs. God values us enough to actively seek us, to welcome us to intimacy, and to rejoice in our worship. For an overview of some of the interpretive issues raised by it there is a video of a conversation about it between H. W. Attridge and D. … As a result of Jesus’ conversation, only a person like the Samaritan woman, an outcast from her own people, could understand what this means. Jesus explains that He is the Living Water. Share how the woman went to collect water at the hottest time of the day because she didn’t want to see anyone or anyone to see her. It was time for Christians to focus outward. To my knowledge no one before has argued for such a reading of this story. The Woman Caught in Adultery Bible Story Study Guide, Meet Ruth: Great Grandmother of King David, The Woman Who Touched Jesus' Garment (Mark 5:21-34), St. Mary Magdalene, Patron Saint of Women, M.A., English Composition, Illinois State University, B.S., English Literature, Illinois State University. For centuries Jews and Samaritans had rejected each other. Part I, Gratitude and Hope: With a  Lot of Help from My Friends by Carol P. Christ, Subversive Sister Saints by Angela Yarber, Good Things Come to an End by amina wadud, The Importance of Ritual for a Goddess Woman by Deanne Quarrie, Mormon Feminism and the Need for Ritual and Practice Creation by Caroline Kline, Gratitude and Hope: With a  Lot of Help from My Friends by Carol P. Christ, Like Water Flowing Down a Mountain: Creating Lasting Change by Carolyn Lee Boyd, Honoring Our Mothers, Honoring Our Selves by Safa Plenty, Where Did She Go? The story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well is one of the most captivating accounts recorded in the Gospel of John. It was about noon, the hottest part of the day, and a Samaritan woman came to the well at this inconvenient time to draw water. Meanwhile, Jesus told his disciples the harvest of souls was ready, sown by the prophets, writers of the Old Testament and John the Baptist. It is also worth noting that the conversation between the Samaritan woman and Jesus is the longest one-on-one exchange ever recorded by any of the Gospel writers. 194 This woman was “ put away ” five times. The “woman at the well” or the story of the Samaritan Woman at the Well is a well known story where Jesus reveals Who He is to the woman, but there is a much deeper meaning than you might imagine to this encounter. Going to the well The story can be read in John chapter 4 and finds Jesus speaking to a woman. Wish I had read your essay before treating that scene in my novel The Passion of Mary Magdalen. I have been one of those bad girls. to their beginning There are lessons here about racial prejudice, religious hatred, and dealing with moral outcasts. ( Log Out /  So the woman said to them, "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did" (v. 29). During his encounter with the woman at the well, Jesus broke three Jewish customs. I was in a very abusive, alcoholic family and continued their patterns into my adult life. There were two groups of peopl… Jesus knew this. Note: A more recent, better article on the Samaritan woman is here. She new what Jesus meant. The Samaritans looked for the Christ and expected Him to be a prophet who would teach them. But in the early days of the Church, Lent was not so much a time to focus inward. by Lache S. Fierce Friendship and the Holidays by Stephanie Arel, Plato’s Diotima as a Symptom of Psychosis by Stuart Dean, May Love Rest You Merry this Solstice, As Darkness Holds Us in Her Grace, Privilege and Hierarchy in Community Care by Christy Croft, Sappy modern carols won’t cut it; Gritty Advent Hope is what we need this year. Given prevailing attitudes at the time, those elements alone would be enough to raise the suspicion she might be lesbian. The New Testament describes the familiar account of the "woman at the well" (John 4:5-42), who was a Samaritan. Sappho’s poem brings back a patriarchal society to a world where the mother is equally of value as a leader, or shepherd, or guide, or priest. Of all the women in the bible I relate to the woman at the well the most. (Tulane, 1976) and J.D. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. They had posted the score that Jesus was ahead, turning him and John into rivals in the eyes of the people. By reaching out to the Samaritans, Jesus showed that his mission was to all people, not just the Jews. John 4:5-6 sets the scene for this narrative. To make their journey shorter, they take the quickest route, through Samaria. by Mark Karapetyan. If this woman was married and divorced five times, then five men divorced her. Just as the Samaritan woman was looking to men … The story of the woman at the well is one of the most well known in the Bible; many Christians can easily give a summary of it. The story begins as Jesus and his disciples are traveling from Jerusalem in the south to Galilee in the north. Absolutely. Stuart Dean has a B.A. She believed in Him, and then returned to her town to tell others who came to see for themselves. 185 If the woman at the well is to come to a saving faith, she must change her course, just as Jesus required of Nicodemus. Here’s the Greek: Sixth hour Probably noon. But as if that weren't enough, he told the woman he could give her "living water" as a gift from God so that she would never thirst again. They were hated by the Jews because of this cultural mixing and because they had their own version of the Bible and their own temple on Mount Gerizim. Jesus stayed two days, teaching the Samaritan people about the Kingdom of God. The woman herself knew she wasn’t married to a (human) husband. It is midday, and Jesus and his disciples have arrived at a Samaritan town called Sychar which is close to … Brava! (John 4:29, ESV). Jack Zavada is a writer who covers the Bible, theology, and other Christianity topics. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window), Click to share on Share (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to share on RSS Feed (Opens in new window), A Reflection on Feminist Theology and the Real Woman by Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente, Water, Activism, and Thirsting for Change by Xochitl Alvizo, http://lavenderpoems.com/sappho-lesbian-love-poet/, May Love Rest You Merry this Solstice, As Darkness Holds Us in Her Grace, The “Curse of Eve”—Is Pain Our Punishment? The Samaritan’s play on ‘bigger’ anticipates the play on the meaning of ‘man’ that follows. Living water: … The title of the famous short story by J. D. Salinger, Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters, is a quote from a fragment of one such song attributed to Sappho: the dimensions of the bridal chamber need to be expanded to make room for the exaggerated ‘size’ of the excited groom, who she compares to a god. The lines you quote are fragment 104a. It is a time not just for personal growth, but for growth of the Church. The story in the Gospel of John of the encounter Jesus has with a Samaritan woman (hereafter, ‘the Samaritan’) at Jacob’s well (4:7-29) has attracted considerable scholarly attention. In this encounter, Jesus speaks of living water, and Dr. Pitre discusses what Jesus means by this living water. To fully grasp the story of the woman at the well, it's important to understand who the Samaritans were--a mixed-race people, who had intermarried with the Assyrians centuries before. She appears at an odd time of day with no one else around and manifests an inquisitive, independent mind. 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