Monday, February 18, 2008

John 4:5-42

Lent 3 – Year A

John 4:5-42

The disciples of Jesus, those baptizing ones, had gone into Sychar, for they were feeling a little eleven-o-clock-ish. When they came back, they brought no one with them (and were still not strengthened enough to ask the questions on their hearts). Apparently they had not yet connected Jesus' "food" with food for the stomach and used their feeding opportunities to expand their hunger to compassionately connect with the "hunger" of others.

Contrast this with Photina (the traditional name for the Samaritan woman at the well) who was the post-modern of her time and who was able to raise leading, expansive, questions of her neighbors and brought many out to visit with and invite Jesus in. In 1:41, Andrew states, "We have found the Messiah" while here Photina says, "Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?" Are these evangelistic techniques simply a difference between male and female sensibilities, or the difference between how you speak to the privileged versus the unprivileged?

In some sense the visit to the well was her being led into the wilderness by the spirit, there encountering the "other" that allowed reflection upon present constructs and set a direction for reentering life from a changed perspective.

[Side note to self: Try tracking through John to see how the identity temptations were worked out in longer conversation blocks with people:
   - "Here is the Lamb of God" and "Can anything good come from Nazareth" -- "If you are the Son of God"
   - "Turn this water to wine" -- "Turn these stones to bread"
   - "Stop making my Father's house a marketplace" -- "All the wealth of the world can be yours"
   - "How dramatic does renewal have to be, rebirth?" -- "Jump now, reveal angels"
   - Etc.]

Do note the lack of rebuke Jesus gives Photina and how non-creedal her testimony. Does that give you permission to tell your insights based on your experience?


  1. At first, the woman at the well was asking in different ways, "Who is this guy?"

    When she said, "GIve me this water," she may have thought that Jesus was nuts, but she thought the living water was a good thing. She was open to what would benefit her.

    That gave Jesus the chance to get into her business. When she realized that Jesus knew her situation, and was relating to her anyway, she acknowledged that he was a prophet, a speaker for God.

    With his broad answer about worship, she asked of the Messiah "who will tell us all things."

    How does Jesus come to us?
    In those who ask for a favor? those we may think are a little strange? sometimes they can tell us who we are.

  2. I appreciate the mutuality you note. It seems to be the process that allows a deepening of a whole relationship. To simply tell folks a theory of everything without that mutuality returns us to a "divine right of kings" and hierarchical religion of authorized tellers and a mass of tellees.

    This conversation with a "foreign" woman around water leads to the woman being told who she is. A conversation with another "foreign" woman about healing for her daughter leads to Jesus being told who he is.

    Thanks for the reminder of mutuality.


Thank you for blessing us with your response.