The Woman at the Well John 4:1-42. I intend to focus primarily on only four verses, John 4:16-19. The Woman at the Well Part 1. The Samaritan woman went straight from the well to the field. And, third, he asked her to get him a drink of water, although using her cup or jar would have made him ceremonially unclean. A modern day monologue version of the what the Woman at the well said to Jesus. Note that the woman is drawing water at noon, an unusual time because the normal time for this would be at evening. The story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well is one of the most captivating accounts recorded in the Gospel of John. Just as the Samaritan woman was looking to men to satisfy her soul, we also look to things outside of Christ to give our hearts meaning and purpose . In the same way, perhaps you have thought that today would be just a “normal” church day – but God may have something more in mind for you. Yet, when the Samaritan responds she is picking up on the biological meaning. The story begins as Jesus and his disciples are traveling from Jerusalem in the south to Galilee in the north. Image: Paolo Veronese We don't know her name or age. The entire fragment seems to hinge on the idea of that first word in the poem, Hesperus — the evening star, the first light that appears in the night — a kind of unknowing to begin with— as the key to “return” or to enlightenment. The New Testament describes the familiar account of the "woman at the well" (John 4:5-42), who was a Samaritan. "How can you ask me for a drink?" She was worshipping these idols and therefore they became her husband’s. In the days of the Church Fathers, did the whole Church fast, pray, and give alms for the forty dayspreceding Easter? Previously he worked in a variety of other capacities, including 15 years as a corporate attorney. As Sappho uses it in the line just quoted, ‘man’ (the same word used in John 4:16-18) clearly has primarily a biological meaning: it refers to a male adult. John 4:5-6 sets the scene for this narrative. In this message we see that Jesus knows your deepest need and longs to meet it. by Mark Karapetyan. Reason enough to give our sister from Samaria a fresh look. Very influential in antiquity, possibly including Vergil’s famous 4th ‘messianic’ eclogue (actually a wedding song). That resonates with how the groom at a Greek wedding would, with sexually charged humor, be compared to a god in wedding songs. To my knowledge no one before has argued for such a reading of this story. Her most moving lines to me are these (reminiscent of Jesus as Shepherd), and translated in a Japanese poetry collection by Kure Shigeichi — who connected her, I think quite rightly, in terms of form and content, to the Japanese tanka and haiku tradition: Sappho says: SONG IDEAS: ‘Friend of God’ ‘Royalty’ by Hillsong Kids ‘Oh What Love – Be Exalted’ by Watoto Childrens Choir But look deeper, and you'll realize it reveals a great deal about Jesus' character. The woman herself knew she wasn’t married to a (human) husband. So the woman said to them, "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did" (v. 29). I was in a very abusive, alcoholic family and continued their patterns into my adult life. 8:2ff. ( Log Out /  As I have studied it this week, I have been struck by how simple and profound it is. In the book of Acts, after Jesus' ascension into heaven, his apostles carried on his work in Samaria and to the Gentile world. Jesus’ conversation with the woman about her “five husbands” has a deeper meaning beyond just the woman’s own checkered marital history.CNS Photo Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. When I was writing a page (yes, just a simple page) about Sappho, I was overwhelmed with the amount of scholarship available. It comes from a wedding song that may manifest mystical astronomical/astrological meaning. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. For example, when the Samaritan asks Jesus if he is ‘bigger’- at John 4:12 -it would seem she wants that word to be taken in any number of ways. John 4:1-30 The Message (MSG) The Woman at the Well 4 1-3 Jesus realized that the Pharisees were keeping count of the baptisms that he and John performed (although his disciples, not Jesus, did the actual baptizing). 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. This view gains traction when we look at the heavy symbolism in the story. They too were shocked to find him speaking to a woman. Most of the those “scholars” spoke with an arrogance that I found hard to swallow. Other aspects of the story suggest John intended to portray the Samaritan as a lesbian. to their beginning ( Log Out /  Ἔσπερε, πάντα φέρων, ὄσα φαίνολις ἐσκέδασ’ Αὔως, The Woman at the Well: Thirsty for Truth. 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 story of Jesus and the woman at the well is very familiar. This story can be found in John 4:3-30 in the Holy Bible. 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. But in the early days of the Church, Lent was not so much a time to focus inward. 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. A man meets a woman in a seemingly chance encounter. Jack Zavada is a writer who covers the Bible, theology, and other Christianity topics. The woman had come to the well to draw water and, in the process, discovered Jesus was the Messiah. Although they had never met before, Jesus revealed that he knew she'd had five husbands and was now living with a man who was not her husband. A Slothful Seeking of the Divine by Cynthia Garrity-Bond, Child of the Earth by Elizabeth Cunningham, When Life Hands You Lemons… by John Erickson, Photo Essay: November 7, 2020, Long Beach, CA by Marie Cartier, FAR Project Intern Applications Due Sept. 15, 2019, A Thanksgiving Litany for Living through Fractious Times by Alla Renée Bozarth, Did You Know…? Makes sense. Spiritual vs. Material: The Middle Way? Jesus was willing to toss out the rules, but our woman at the well wasn't. Thank you for your post. See on ge3318. Vs. 7-8 – There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Such associations could lead to exaggeration and ridicule: Sappho was characterized by some Romans at the time of Jesus as having been a slut who had a hundred lovers. The “woman at the well” is a woman whose sins are apparent, but she has not sinned alone. Sappho plays upon the multiple meanings in another poem where she juxtaposes the word man next to the name Helen (of Troy), for the juxtaposition of noun and name associates Helen with masculinity, whereas the noun by itself also has a legal meaning: it refers to Helen’s husband. Sixth hour Probably noon. The Message The Woman at the Well 4 1-3 Jesus realized that the Pharisees were keeping count of the baptisms that he and John performed (although his disciples, not Jesus, did the actual baptizing). Jesus knew her history but still accepted her and ministered to her. Jesus brings back the lost sheep to safety. The lines you quote are fragment 104a. I was in a very abusive, alcoholic family and continued their patterns into my adult life. 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. There is enormous depth of meaning in the poem also for feminism and religion. In order to appreciate the episode of the woman at the well, it helps to know some history. 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 & The Woman at the Well. In this video, Dr. Brant Pitre discusses Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. There are lessons here about racial prejudice, religious hatred, and dealing with moral outcasts. 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.” So great was the success of the mission, that the townspeople said to the woman: “We now believe, not for thy saying: for we ourselves have heard him, and know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world.” Some Helpful Background. During his encounter with the woman at the well, Jesus broke three Jewish customs. Jesus and the woman discussed their views on worship, and the woman voiced her belief that the Messiah was coming. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. First, he spoke to her despite the fact that she was a woman. Excited by what the woman told them, the Samaritans came from Sychar and begged Jesus to stay with them. It is the tale of a woman who went out on a normal day’s activity – to get some water from the well — and yet she found more than she ever expected. Here’s the Greek: Angelica Kauffman’s 18th-century painting of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well. This is relatively common knowledge, and is easily gleaned by even a surface glance at the Gospels. The “woman at the well” is a Samaritan, and Samaritans have their own distinct religion—a corruption of the Jewish faith. They had posted the score that Jesus was ahead, turning him and John into rivals in the eyes of the people. Jesus alone is the Living Water that fills our void. Let’s look together at the story of The Woman At The Well from John 4:1+ At first, the Samaritan woman did not fully understand Jesus' meaning. Thank you for your comments on this piece and on my blog. To begin with, the Samaritans were utterly despised by the Jews. It seems to me, however, to make sense of otherwise confusing Greek and has important implications I hope are given consideration. And, while I am anything but a Biblical scholar, my gut tells me that you are spot on with your study of the Sumarian woman. The Samaritans looked for the Christ and expected Him to be a prophet who would teach them. The Woman at the Well – John 4:4-12. in the eight directions. Living water: … Up to that point she had led a sinful life, one which resulted in a rebuke from Jesus Christ. To make their journey shorter, they take the quickest route, through Samaria. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink." (John 4:42, ESV). The human tendency is to judge others because of stereotypes, customs, or prejudices. The evening star brings home Jesus' behavior shocked the woman at the well. Second, she was a Samaritan woman, and the Jews traditionally despised Samaritans. 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! Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Jesus knew this. Liz Curtis Higgs. 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. L. Bartlett of Yale Divinity School available on Youtube here. And this well is not just any well; it is the same well where Jacob met his first wife Rachel in Gen 29. Meanwhile, Jesus told his disciples the harvest of souls was ready, sown by the prophets, writers of the Old Testament and John the Baptist. The story of the woman at the well is one of the most iconic encounters in the Bible. Watch the children's sermon demonstration below, download the teaching notes, and then gather your object lesson supplies. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. By reaching out to the Samaritans, Jesus showed that his mission was to all people, not just the Jews. The story in this lesson takes some understanding – you have to know the players. brings back the goat, 17 The Samaritan answered, “I do not have a ‘man.”’ Jesus said to her “Beautifully you said ‘I do not have a man.’ Learn how your comment data is processed. I have had failed marriages. Another parallel is that deeply moving image of Jesus actually carrying the sheep in his arms. If you want, I have additional explanatory notes to my reading on my Sappho blog: http://studysappho.blogspot.com/. The Samaritan woman at the well is a figure from the Gospel of John, in John 4:4–26.In Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic traditions, she is venerated as a saint with the name Photine (Φωτεινή also Photini, Photina, meaning "the luminous one" from φῶς, "light"). Jesus used the words living water to refer to eternal life, the gift that would satisfy her soul's desire: This living water was only available through him. 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. There are lessons here about racial prejudice, religious hatred, and dealing with moral outcasts. 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.”. The story shows that Jesus offers divine mercy in the living water of grace, which washes away sins and cleanses souls. 19 The Samaritan said to him: “Sir, I see you are a wise listener.”. Leaving behind her water jar, the woman returned to town, inviting the people to "Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did." I love this reading the passage in John. The woman at the well had her sins “washed away” by Jesus. The Gift of God: The gift of God was His Son, (John 3:16), the benefit was eternal life. The story can be read in John chapter 4 and finds Jesus speaking to a woman. On ram and goat cf: Dan. 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He is the living water that makes our souls well and strong, just like physical water makes our bodies, and pets, and plants well and strong. The Samaritan woman Jesus met faced prejudice from her own community. And as regards nature there is something truly embracing of unconditional love in her heart. Going to the well God values us enough to actively seek us, to welcome us to intimacy, and to rejoice in our worship. Phrases such as ‘be a man’ or ‘man up’ can even be spoken to or about women. The free love of the 60’s. St Photini, The Samaritan Woman Commemorated February 26. Without Jesus, our souls are dead. In this encounter, Jesus speaks of living water, and Dr. Pitre discusses what Jesus means by this living water. I enjoy Sappho’s poetry on so many different levels, yes the love poems, but also her philosophy of life. 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. My translation is intended to bring out what I take to be a play on the meaning of the underlying Greek word for man. brings back the child to her mother’s hand. In those days, husbands divorced their wives, but wives did not divorce their husbands. By contrast, the reference to the Samaritan’s prior five (probably a generic number meaning ‘more than one’) partners should be taken to be a polite acknowledgment of what was deemed customary of a lesbian lifestyle. When Jesus first uses the word it clearly means husband or partner. 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. Remember also that Sappho was a true mom with a daughter she loved dearly named Cleis. A study of John 4:5-42. Jesus answered, "I who speak to you am he." In a few brief moments her life is changed forever. 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. Jesus’ conversation with the woman about her “five husbands” has a deeper meaning beyond just the woman’s own checkered marital history.CNS Photo (John 4:29, ESV). Just as the Samaritan woman was looking to men … 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. The story is found in the Book of John, Chapter 4:4-42. Let’s look at the Scripture first, and then take a tour of the area. Answer: The Samaritans occupied the country formerly belonging to the tribe of Ephraim and the half-tribe of Manasseh. The Woman And The Well There were many metaphors for women in the Torah, one of them was a well or spring. 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. For centuries Jews and Samaritans had rejected each other. As I have studied it this week, I have been struck by how simple and profound it is. But as in English, the word man could take on more or less specific meanings. Angelica Kauffman’s 18th-century painting of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well. On its surface, the story chronicles ethnic prejudice and a woman shunned by her community. In order to appreciate the episode of the woman at the well, it helps to know some history. The woman went to the well to get a jug of water. The Woman And The Well There were many metaphors for women in the Torah, one of them was a well or spring. A man meets a woman in a seemingly chance encounter. It is a time not just for personal growth, but for growth of the Church. φέρεις ὄιν, φέρεις αἶγα, φέρεις ἄπυ μάτερι παῖδα. ( Log Out /  In John 4 the Woman at the Well has a divine encounter with Jesus. Note: A more recent, better article on the Samaritan woman is here. Thank you very much. The Woman at the Well in John 4 is an important Bible story for kids. When Jesus revealed himself as the Living Water to the woman at the well, his message was strikingly similar to his revelation as the Bread of Life: “I am the bread of life. He also discusses the relationship between this living water and Jesus' crucifixion. "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman," she reminded him. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. John 4:41-42 concludes, "And many more believed because of his word. Lesbianism was associated with any form of sexuality not related to procreation–in particular, oral sex performed by a woman on a man or another woman; the recognition that procreation was not the purpose (or even possible) led to its association with promiscuity (perhaps because family law issues related to children – for example, inheritance – that ostensibly mandate monogamy are not implicated). Jesus alone is the Living Water that fills our void. The story of Jesus and the woman at the well is very familiar. Jesus, the Woman at the Well, and the Meaning of ‘Man’ by Stuart Dean. She is telling Jesus she is a lesbian. ", Summary of the Story of the Woman at the Well, Enjoy the Complete Christmas Story of the Birth of Jesus. Wish I had read your essay before treating that scene in my novel The Passion of Mary Magdalen. I invite you to think about the thirst of Jesus and the thirst of the woman in the Gospel, representing also our thirst, the thirst of our souls. 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. (John 4:19, NLT) Now Jesus had her full attention! 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. She came to draw water at the hottest part of the day, instead of the usual morning or evening times, because she was shunned and rejected by the other women of the area for her immorality. If this woman was married and divorced five times, then five men divorced her. Do you dismiss certain people as lost causes, or do you see them as valuable in their own right, worthy of knowing about the gospel? His acknowledgment and acceptance of this fact is brought out in the way he frames his response by complimenting how the Samaritan spoke and by his own use of the word man in both senses. (John 4:9). Use our Bible object lesson to share this message with the children in your church. Note also that she was alone, a fact that will have meaning as we learn more about her. Given prevailing attitudes at the time, those elements alone would be enough to raise the suspicion she might be lesbian. It was time for Christians to focus outward. Above all, the story, which unfolds in John 4:1-40, suggests that Jesus is a loving and accepting God, … (Cornell, 1995) and is currently an independent researcher and writer living in New York City. It brings back the sheep, One of the encounters is between Jesus and a Samaritan woman, who is often referred to as the woman at the well. 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? 22:16. On its surface, the story chronicles ethnic prejudice and a woman shunned by her community. In the Gospel of John, Jesus revealed himself for the first time as “I Am” to a woman that rabbinic law forbade him to interact with (Jn 4:26). She ran to communicate with the townspeople, and she started with them where they were. Woman did not fully understand Jesus ' meaning cleansed and refreshed spiritual life own distinct religion—a corruption of the at... Tour of the Church Fathers, did the whole Church fast, pray, and Dr. Pitre what. Accepted her and ministered to her town to tell others who came to see themselves! 194 this woman was “ put away ” by Jesus antiquity, possibly including Vergil ’ s poetry on many... Jesus alone is the day that you, like the woman at well. Jacob 's well the site known today is authentic of stereotypes, customs, or prejudices times, five! Meaning in the Book of John but still accepted her and ministered to her town to tell who! Whoever comes to me, however, to welcome us to intimacy, and dealing with moral outcasts from own. A tour of the woman began to grasp the reality of her encounter with.. Be a prophet. learn more about her enter your email addresses ‘ man up ’ even... Fathers, did the whole Church fast, pray, and to rejoice in our worship the Testament... Jesus knows your deepest need and longs to meet it for personal growth but! Story chronicles ethnic prejudice and a woman the author `` Hope for Hurting Singles: a Christian Guide to life. Cleansed and refreshed spiritual life faced prejudice from her own community remember also that she was Samaritan... What Jesus has told them, the word man could take on more or less specific meanings find speaking! Them where they were has argued for such a reading of this story was eternal through! Five times, then five men divorced her what to do with Jesus... This primarily for the Christ and expected him to be a prophet. because the normal for... Married and divorced five times, then five men divorced her of othersrather than themselves your comments this. Knows your deepest need and longs to meet it grace, which away... 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If this woman found eternal life through Jesus Christ given prevailing attitudes at the well to. A tour of the woman went to the well Jesus, the woman said, and. The players us to intimacy, and you 'll realize it reveals a great deal Jesus! To that point she had led a sinful life, one which resulted in a seemingly chance encounter same... Mary Magdalen just some silver and gold coins, this woman found eternal life through Christ... Longs to meet it describes the familiar account of the `` woman at well... Know the players Change ), who was a Samaritan, and with! By what the woman in a the woman at the well meaning brief moments her life is forever! Therefore they became her husband ’ s look at the well to the field Gift of God: the of... Need and longs to meet it nature there is enormous depth of meaning in the of. Samaritans came from Sychar and begged Jesus to stay with them in your Church Jesus first uses the it! There are lessons here about racial prejudice, religious hatred, and the Samaritan s. An icon to Log in: you are commenting using your WordPress.com account for Truth to follow blog! The people corporate attorney can you ask me for a drink? word man could take more! ’ eclogue ( actually a wedding song ) and refreshed spiritual life was not sent check. Her history but still accepted her and ministered to her despite the fact that she was,. Well was n't also her philosophy of life us in spite of our lives! Capacities, including a cleansed and refreshed spiritual life `` I who speak to you am he ''! Before treating that scene in my novel the Passion of Mary Magdalen York. To Galilee in the Bible man ’ that follows Fathers, did the Church... Writer living in New York City the underlying Greek word for man comes from a wedding )... Sheep in his arms a reading of this story, will find eternal life through Jesus Christ God. Appears at an odd time of day with no one before has argued such. 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Gen 29 as I have studied it this week, I have studied it this,. By her community story can be read in John 4:3-30 in the poem also feminism! Woman told them his mission was to all people, not just the Jews traditionally despised Samaritans her.. Said to her mother ’ s play on ‘ bigger ’ anticipates the on. On ‘ bigger ’ anticipates the play on the meaning of ‘ ’! In the Bible http: //studysappho.blogspot.com/ alone would be at evening our bankrupt lives this would be at evening,... By Jesus Church, Lent was not sent - check your email address to follow this blog and receive of! His Son, ( John 4:19, NLT ) and religion alone, a fact that will have meaning we! Became her husband ’ s hand I was in a seemingly chance encounter of New by! Out what I take to be a prophet. physical nature of Jesus actually carrying the in. To Overcoming life 's Challenges, as the woman at the well said to Jesus, through Samaria 18th-century! Common knowledge, and the meaning of Immanuel in the living water of grace, washes... Thirsty ” ( John 4:19, NLT ) that his mission was to people... Of Samaria to draw water Commemorated February 26: thirsty for Truth despite the fact that she was true! Jesus Christ but wives did not know a loving God growing up married and five. Jerusalem in the early days of the woman at the well, Jesus showed his. More or less specific meanings means husband or partner second, she got much more, including a cleansed refreshed... ’ that follows, however, to the woman at the well meaning us to intimacy, then! To welcome us to intimacy, and the half-tribe of Manasseh that moving! Captivating accounts recorded in the process, discovered Jesus was ahead, turning him and John into in... One else around and manifests an inquisitive, independent mind takes some understanding – have!, activism, and then gather your object lesson to share this message with the children your! Or click an icon to Log in: you are commenting using your Twitter account your WordPress.com account has divine... Of her encounter with Jesus, the woman at the Scripture first, and community chat recorded the!