by Leah Johnson // March 9th, 2020
Reading, John 4:5-30 (The Inclusive Bible)
He stopped at Sychar, a town in Samaria, near the tract of land Jacob had given to his son Joseph, and Jacob’s Well was there. Jesus, weary from the journey, came and sat by the well it was around noon. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” The disciples had gone off to the town to buy provisions. The Samaritan woman replied, “You’re a Jew. How can you ask me, a Samaritan, for a drink?” since Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans.
Jesus answered, “If only you recognized God’s gift, and who it is that is asking you for a drink, you would have asked him for a drink instead, and he would have given you living water.” “If you please,” she challenged Jesus, “you don’t have a bucket and this well is deep. Where do you expect to get this “living water’? Surely you don’t pretend to be greater than our ancestors Leah and Rachel and Jacob, who gave us this well and drank from it with their descendants and flocks?”
Jesus replied, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give them will never be thirsty, no, the water I give will become fountains within them, springing up to provide eternal life.” The woman said to Jesus, “Give me this water, so that I won’t grow thirsty and have to keep coming all the way here to draw water.”
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband and then come back here.” “I don’t have a husband,” replied the woman. “You’re right—you don’t have a husband!” Jesus exclaimed. “The fact is, you’ve had five, and the man you’re living with now is not your husband. So what you’ve said is quite true.”
“I can see you’re a prophet,” answered the woman. “Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you people claim that Jerusalem is the place where God ought to be worshiped.” Jesus told her, “Believe me, the hour is coming when you’ll worship Abba God neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you don’t understand; we worship what we do understand—after all, salvation is from the Jewish people. Yet the hour is coming—and is already here—when real worshipers will worship Abba God in Spirit and truth. Indeed, it is just such worshipers whom Abba God seeks. God is Spirit, and those who worship God must worship in spirit and truth.”
The woman said to Jesus, “I know that the Messiah—the Anointed One—is coming and will tell us everything.” Jesus replied, “I who speak to you am the Messiah.”
The disciples, returning at this point, were shocked to find Jesus having a private conversation with a woman. But no one dared to ask, “What do you want of him?” or “Why are you talking with her?” The woman then left her water jar and went off into the town. She said to the people, “come and see someone who told me everything I have ever done! Could this be the Messiah?” At that, everyone set out from town to meet Jesus.
Poem, “The Samaritan Woman”
The daily chores are impatient with her pride
and time has yet to mend her grief.
She is numb and raw. Even still.
The piles of laundry need scrubbing.
The kettles and tubs need filling.
Everything begins at the well.
The neighbors are always watching,
even when their eyes dart away.
They know she is aching to belong,
for dignity that would require they see her.
But opening their circles would change things.
Too many things. So they leave her alone.
The sun is high. She is thirsty and so is he.
He speaks and everything is cracked open.
The conversation tangles around and through
her weary work, her lonely life, her wild baggage
that can no longer embarrass or writhe with protest.
She is quenched and overflows even still.