Submitted by Jan on Tue, 14/03/2017 – 10:31
Third Sunday in Lent
Year A (2016-2017)
Bible Book: John
Verse: 5 – 42
Let us join the transformational journey of this nameless Samaritan woman, as she makes her way to the well for water. We notice she is not part of a group of women, together in solidarity, busy with a familiar daily chore of getting water for the household. On the contrary she is on her own, strong enough to walk in the heat, to act upon her thirst. She seems to know about stigma and discrimination, being seen as different because she already had five husbands and the sixth man she is with now, is not her husband. It marks her, isolates her, just as HIV/Aids can mark and isolate individuals within their communities, especially where communities reject and judge what is not understood or different from the norm.
Then she meets Jesus, a Jew and a man, at the well. He clearly sees her and connects directly with her, cutting through any stigma or discrimination. She is surprised, even shocked because Jews do not socially mix with Samaritans and women and men generally keep a safe social distance from each other.
Jesus asks her for water to drink. When she reflects back to him how out of order he is, Jesus goes deeper by telling her that if she knew who He was, she would ask for living water. She hears him and reveals that she knows about her forefather Jacob, about the well that have sustain many for many years and is curious how Jesus plans to give her living water without any bucket to get to the water deep in the well. And amidst her confusion, she is intrigued enough to want the living water.
And then Jesus reveals that He knows her fully. He invites her to call her husband, and when she replies that she has no husband, he agrees that she is speaking the truth and reveals to her how much He sees and knows about her.
Immediately after Jesus describes her past, she says, “I see that you are a prophet”, she makes a confession of faith. And then wants to know: Where is the place where one should worship God?
When Jesus answers her, He does it because He recognizes her and reveals that God so loved the world (all) that God send Jesus to open us up, so that living water can run freely. The place of worship is inside, in spirit and truth and those who make the shift away from outside to the inside, will know how much God celebrates this liberation, this living water that flows freely.
And we witness the radical shift of her status from margin to center as she becomes a front runner of the good news, impacting her whole community, who experience for themselves the transformational and liberating power of connecting with Jesus the Messiah.
May we all open our faith eyes to recognize the living water that flows within us through the Holy Spirit and share it freely despite stigma and discrimination.
To think about:
How do I “see” myself, my life`s purpose, challenges I face and my community`s needs– is it through eyes filled with fear, overwhelm, judgements, demands, despair or is it through life giving faith eyes?
Written By: Rev Judith Kotzé, independent consultant working with Inclusive and Affirming Ministries (IAM)
Author: Kotze J (Rev)