Tag Archives: Jesus

Woman at the Well, Part 4: Changing the Subject, Avoiding the Issue

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SilhouetteWe are finally returning to a series I started a fair time ago.  The story of the Woman at the Well has always fascinated me for the many layers that are there, embedded in a simply recounting of Jesus meeting a woman while on a hot, dusty trek from Jerusalem up into Galilee, where He spent the bulk of His ministry.  The encounter is at once intensely countercultural, incredibly affirming, shockingly political, and startlingly irreligious.  In this story Jesus tears down walls of race, class, gender, religion, and even shame, hopelessness, isolation and despair.

Check out Parts 1, 2, and 3.  Now, we turn to a fascinating interchange that takes place as Jesus forces the woman to confront who she is and where she has found herself.

The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”
(John 4:19-20 ESV) Read the rest of this entry »

Woman at the Well, Part 3: Cutting to the Chase – Herstory

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The Woman at the Well is a fascinating anecdote in John’s Gospel.  It is featured in no other account of Jesus’ ministry but so much is going on in this story that I can’t help but reflect deeply on this story and all of the layers of impact it has on life today.

In Part 1 of this series, I reflected on the beginning of the story – the reason the story even came about.  Jesus was on a long hot journey by foot from Jerusalem to Galilee via Samaria.  He stopped at Jacob’s Well for water around noontime, and began an innocent conversation with a woman drawing water for her household.  Sounds normal right?  In that day, at that time, a Jewish man interacting with a Samaritan woman at a well in the heat of the day add up to a bizarre, almost singular occurrence.

In Part 2 I pried into the reality of how many cultural norms were being shattered by Jesus in addressing this nameless woman.  Many people today view Christianity as the conservative, regressive religion that oppresses people but this story as it unfolds demonstrates the shocking irreligious nature of Jesus and His message.  It spells out a countercultural Jesus, a Jesus who had enough of people treating Samaritans like scum; women like chattel; sinners like pariahs.

In part 3, I am going to expand on what the real issue was.  It wasn’t her Samaritan background that was keeping her from the living water that Jesus was offering.  It wasn’t her femaleness.  It was her story.  Her history.  It was the emotional aftermath of the life she had been living to this point. Read the rest of this entry »

Woman At The Well Part 1: Thirst and Avoidance

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One of the first times I ever spoke was on John 4 – the woman at the well.  It’s a fascinating little anecdote from Jesus’ early ministry, and it holds a number of unique insights about both Jesus’ purpose, method, and outcomes, as well as a couple of unique insights about human nature and how people deal with stuff in their lives.

It’s a very contemporary story, because the woman Jesus encounters sounds very familiar to us.  She’s an intelligent, independent woman.  She has been educated.  She is up on the issues of her day.  She doesn’t sound like an undereducated, burkha-wearing middle eastern woman of 2000 years ago that most people imagine.  She isn’t a beaten down woman.  She isn’t a woman who is enslaved.  She follows her heart.  She makes her own decisions.

What plays out in this story is something many women and many men can relate to, because while the above description sounds quite modern, she carries burdens that most of us don’t carry today.  So I am going to do a series of posts here on this story, drawing out 6 fascinating truths from John chapter 4.

The first detail I want to point out is – the story begins with thirst.  And avoidance. Read the rest of this entry »

Moses and Jesus: Encouraging Copycats

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It’s been a little while since I have blogged on here!  Wow.  Ah well.  I am not writing this for anyone but myself anyway.  If people find it interesting to read, you’re welcome to read it. I don’t promise earth-shattering insight, only what strikes me.  In my life I have spent a lot of time worrying that everyone else knew more than I did.  Now, I don’t worry so much.  So if what I find to be a new and original though is something you learned years before, give yourself a gold star and then celebrate with me.

On with the show.

So, obviously Jesus is going to have similarities to other great prophets.  His miracles were not just miracles to identify Him as God and King, but to also demonstrate supremacy over other prophets.  So as I was reading through Numbers (which was like a breath of fresh air after 3/4 of Exodus and the Law) I was struck with the similarities between Jesus feeding the multitudes and the whinging of Israel for meat (Numbers 11).

But right smack in the middle of the miracle of the quail, there is this little account of God establishing 70 men to have leadership under Moses.  God gives them a measure of the Spirit that is on Moses, causing them to prophesy.  A couple of them do it in the middle of the camp.  Prophesying when the Spirit is on you obviously involves speaking with a certain level of authority, and Joshua, Moses’ right hand man takes exception.  To him it looks like these two guys are pulling a Moses in front of everyone.  But Moses’ response is strikingly similar to another one.  Check it out:

28 Joshua son of Nun, assistant to Moses since his youth, responded, “Moses, my lord, stop them!”
29 But Moses asked him, “Are you jealous on my account? If only all the Lord’s people were prophets and the Lord would place His Spirit on them!”  Numbers 11:28-29 (HCSB)

An interlude with Jesus:

49 John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” 50But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.” Luke 9:49-50 (HCSB)

Both feature people who appear to be assuming the authority of the master, and the follower of the master acting jealous for their master.  But in both cases, the master (Moses and Jesus) feels no need to protect what is perceived to be his, and encourages others seeking to emulate himself.  I find that lesson to be enlightening.

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