In Samaria he came to a town named Sychar, which was not far from the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by the trip, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
A Samaritan woman came to draw some water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink of water.” (His disciples had gone into town to buy food.) The woman answered, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan—so how can you ask me for a drink?” (Jews will not use the same cups and bowls that Samaritans use.)
Jesus answered, “If you only knew what God gives and who it is that is asking you for a drink, you would ask him, and he would give you life-giving water.”
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A dance of societal expectations and spiritually rich enlightenment…
Not in the family compound but by herself, at noon in a public space, with no male chaperone, as if a woman of ill repute. She is risking censure for seeking the necessity of life-giving water.
Asked to break societal and cultural boundaries via offering a culturally different male a hospitable ‘drink of cold water’ (Matt 10:42), she also challenges those boundaries and him, by questioning his insistence. Ever practical as is her cultural ‘role’, she emphases flawed cultural customs through naming their common ancestry.
He refers to continuing spiritual refreshment for those who are always seeking in their personal ‘desert’. She longs for this ‘healing water’.
He seemingly reminds her of her widowhood and shame-filled living, yet honours her word as ‘truth telling’. He draws her beyond societal expectations to an inclusive theology where there is a space for all, no matter our history, our experiences, our grief. God welcomes us as we are, not because of our experiences. God’s Spirit reveals the life-giving water that never leaves us parched.
Shocked by his challenging insight and wisdom, her rejoinders are rich in understanding and her inherent longing for a welcoming Liberator and Saviour. Shunned by the disciples who do not ‘plant’ nor ‘harvest’ at the right time, it is she who returns to her community, sharing and encouraging them in this moment to “Come and see”. The voice of the silenced and disregarded became the voice of change and new faith.
And many more believed.
Exodus 17:1-7 reminds us that God calls us to face the unforgiving hard places and strike at the rock of injustice and resistance – for when we faithfully rely on God’s spiritual strength as we crack open the hard places, it is then that we allow the ‘healing waters’ to flow.
Prayer – At the Welcoming Wall
Holy Stranger, hear our prayer
Trapped in expectations and boundaries,
we fail to see your Way.
Reveal to us the stony walls
that both separate and enclose us.
Holy Farmer, hear our prayer
We collect the seeds of your wisdom,
yet do not plant them in our lives.
Plough through our dry and desert souls
and cultivate our faith-filled living
where your wisdom becomes embedded in our everyday.
Holy Water, hear our prayer
Spiritually parched and longing to be refreshed
we do not quench our souls at your everlasting well.
Flow through us and over our lives
that we are baptized and renewed.
Our being and doing are chained to our thinking, leaving us
frozen in grief, worried about loss, disillusioned and anxious.
Release us from our closed mindedness to you,
Help us crack open our rock of disheartened fears
that we may share your life affirming freedom and welcome.
At the welcoming well of your never-ending love
we are seen, enriched, refreshed and set free.
Praise to you, O Holy One.