Who cannot delight in the story of the Samaritan woman? It is the story of the underdog, the outcast, rejected by the Jews for being a Samaritan and by the Samaritans for not living a respectable life. Yet, Jesus empowers the Samaritan woman to reveal him to the people. she is a woman living on the margins of society, yet specially chosen by Jesus. But, in fact, isn’t her story our own stories?
Let’s have some fun playing with the dialogue between Jesus and the woman. It’s almost comic: Two people talking to each other on two totally different levels without mush apparent connecting. Isn’t Jesus being really “high context”in this converstaion, using lots of innuendos, lots of symbols? and the woman is so low context, so literal.
Jesus: Give me a drink.
Woman: Why are you talking to me, Man? You think I’m dirt. Think again if you think I’m going to help you.
Jesus: Don’t you know each of us is a gift of God? If you could accept me for who I am and not just think of me as the oppressor, you would have asked me for help. I would give you living water.
Woman: Come off it, Man! You don’t even have a bucket. How could you possibly give me anything? Who do you think you are, anyhow? Do you think you’re greater than Jacob?
Jesus: What I want to give you is already inside you. Maybe I can help you to bring it to life so that you’ll never be thirsty again.
Woman: Humph! I’d like to see you do that! Then I wouldn’t have to come to this well. I’d never have to deal with the other women who think I’m dirt too. Go ahead – make my day. Words are cheap … I’d sure like to see you do what you say you can do.
Jesus: First, call your husband.
Woman: I don’t have a husband.
Jesus: Yes, you have five husbands.
Woman: Okay, so you know about me. You’re a prophet. You’re going to tell me to straighten up my life … so tell me first, why do we have to worship in Jerusalem?
Jesus: God is Spirit. Worship neither here not there, but in Spirit.
Woman to the people: Come and see. Could he possibly be the Messiah?
How can we see ourselves in this dialogue? How about the times we mistrust others – pre-judging them as pre-judging us? … not open to the gifts they can give us becuse we carry too much baggage of hurt to recognize our own gifts – the life giving waters withing us?
How about the times we block the bursting forth of God’s Reign in our world- getting bogged down in practicalities? (We don’t have buckets of time, energy, youth!) … focusing on divisions rather than the unity of the Spirit?(We have to worship this way of that.) like the disciples, not recognizing the ripened fields because it’s just not just harvest time yet?
Reflect on the times you have hung in with the conversation, being vulnerable enough, honest enough, to reveal your doubts, our fears, our questions … allowing the conversation to pierce through your mistrust so that you finally recognize Jesus in the one with whom you are speaking … having the courage, risking rejection to let the people know that just possibly you may have met the Messiah .