David’s Read on the Woman at the Well

The story thus far:

We opened with a hymn to the pre-existent and eternal Light that shines in the darkness and who then became grounded in our reality. We hear witness to John the Baptist who in turn witnesses to Christ. We get discourses by Jesus speaking of the messiah in the third person.

Now — and for the first time Jesus owns the title of messiah. He does so not to his intimate circle of chosen disciples, nor even in Israel. But to a woman and a Samaritan who has had several husbands and is now living with a man she is not married to. It is through her witness that others see/hear the Light. We get shades of Mark here when the disciples arrive, and become confused at Jesus’ actions — clearly those who should most be in the know are out of the loop.

Seems to me John is telling us the Jesus Movement has outgrown its Jewish roots and is finding a home amongst those estranged from mainstream Judaism. Here is a faith that insiders cannot understand and those pushed to the margins by the insiders feel empowered by.

What does that say about a Quaker Meeting where the same half dozen or so “weighty Friends” attend the meeting for worship for business and sit on all the committees? And I do not imagine Quakers to be unique in this regard. Methodists, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Catholics, I’m sure have their parallels.

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2 responses

  1. Well David, I’m quicker than you to cast opprobrium on these establishment bodies, including Quaker ones (read my History of the Church). We do need to call a spade a spade, like Jesus did. We generally avoid this because, like Nicodemus, it’s more comfortable to remain in the closet.Re the story: what comes to my mind immediately is the thrust toward universalism (in contrast to the common ‘there’s only one way’). We have the Samaritan woman, the ‘good Samaritan’, the Syro-Phoenician woman, the Ethiopean enuch: the N.T. is full of clues of that sort for people who have ‘ears to hear and eyes to see’. May their tribe increase.

  2. Interesting what Larry said about Nicodemus being more uncomfortable in the closet. Certainly it is, but I’ve always read Nicodemus as being uncertain about who Jesus is and what he represents. Dawn may come slowly for Nicodemus (as I feel it does for me!)

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