So, recently @CTmagazine sent out a retweet over the Twittisphere of an article written by Lynn H. Cohick. It purported to re-examine false assumptions that have been made about the woman Jesus met at Jacob’s well in the fourth chapter of John’s gospel. The article itself is several years old but if you want you should be able to read it here: https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/october/was-samaritan-woman-really-adulteress.html?share=uAO3P26FBPpC4OVshkCS7aS%2bJqoB9Cm7
The author unpacks the story assumption by assumption showing how our cultural biases have affected our reading of the story…
- Married 5 times might not have been that uncommon… ‘It is more likely that her five marriages and current arrangement were the result of unfortunate events that took the lives of several of her husbands.’
- The woman might not have been at the well alone…
- The woman might have been coming to the well at midday because she was ‘helping a neighbour with young children’
- The woman must have been respected in her community – ‘the fact that the townspeople listen to her testimony suggests that she was not a shunned sinner’
…basically, the author replaces all the old assumptions with new ones. But that’s not my point…
It seems to me the point of the story is that Jesus comes to meet us right where we are… Make the woman as vile a person as you like… or as sacred and righteous as you like… she is still not worthy of this encounter. She could have been the first century version of Mother Teresa and still she would not have been worthy of a face-to-face, one-on-one encounter with the Living God. Jesus was not bothered by her five marriages… or her attempt at deception. Nor was He impressed by her religious questions.
Make whatever assumptions you need to make in order to feel good about the story but don’t miss the point. Whoever you are, wherever you are on your journey, Christ wants to meet you… YOU! He comes to YOUR well, whenever it is that YOU arrive, and asks pointed questions of YOU in the hopes that YOU will have the courage to ask HIM to fill your longing.
Your journey, your past, your present… none of these matter to Jesus – what matters to Him is YOU