SCRIPTURE READING: John 4:1-42
Narrator:  So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.  Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.  A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her,

Jesus:  Give me a drink. (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.)

Woman:  How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?  (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.)

Jesus:  If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.

Woman:  Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?  Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?”

Jesus:  Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.

Woman:  Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.

Jesus:  Go, call your husband, and come back.

Woman:  I have no husband.

Jesus:  You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!

Woman:  Sir, I see that you are a prophet.  Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.

Jesus:  Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.  But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.  God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

Woman:  I know that Messiah is coming (who is called Christ). When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.

Jesus:  I am he, the one who is speaking to you.

Narrator:  Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” 28 Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people,

Woman walks off and faces away from Jesus.

Woman:  Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?

Narrator:   They left the city and were on their way to him. Turning back toward Jesus.  Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.”  But he said to them,

Jesus:  I have food to eat that you do not know about.

Narrator:  So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?”   Jesus said to them,

Jesus:  My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work.  Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest’? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting.  The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.  For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’   I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.

Narrator:  Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.”  So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days.  And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”

MESSAGE
The woman at the well
… It is important for us to hear this story as a conversation— it is a dialogue not a monologue
it is an exchange between Jesus and a woman, who is a Samaritan
Samaritan? — the Jews were divided into 2 territories— Judea (near Jerusalem) and Galilee and in between is Samaria—-
they worship Yahweh but had intermarried,
There is more than an ethnic difference..between Jews and Samaritans they are fighting friends, first cousins— and there has been violence between them
Samaritan and Jews have different identities
conflicted group— an ethnic tension — with a long history
The setting is a well…
Jacob’s well… it is a type scene, in the OT…women who had been unable to get pregnant would do so and give birth to a hero or special child, Hannah & Samuel—Jacob met Rachel at this well
men and women needed a place to meet and in the 1st century it is a well —if men and women meet at a well they will get married…
So the disciples jump to conclusions when they find Jesus at a well with a Samaritan woman.. anyone would.

This woman has often been seen in less than favorable light…
that having 5 husbands is her fault

She is not a hussy… she is not a serial sinner, but rather she is a victim, a serial victim,
She may have been widowed 5 times, She may have been abandoned by 5 husbands.
She is childless… so perhaps all her husband’s left her because she could not produce a child. We don’t know.
she is now possibly living under a man’s protection in his household as the only way to survive in the culture.
This would expose her to talk,
she goes to the well in the heat of the day… when she most likely does not expect anyone else to be there.

Jesus goes to the well and finds her,
There is a profound mutuality in the story
he asks her for water because he needs water
and she needs the living water he offers
Jesus needs her as a witness to her town,
she needs Jesus to have a relationship she has never had
he goes to find a witness…
This woman uses the same language that Jesus does…
she goes to the same neighbors she has been hiding from an tells them…”Come and see”
it is the 1st I am in the gospel and Jesus does not go to the disciples or to the Pharisees… the religious leaders of the day…not to the insiders but he says “I am” to the world through this woman.

The story is not one about forgiveness— Jesus forgiving this woman
It is about kindness and respect, something this woman did not experience often.
Jesus says to her… I will never desert or abandon you.. as all your husbands have.
I will never leave you

As the text moves along…She 1st sees Jesus as a Jew, then as a Sir or Lord, then as the Messiah and in the end as the Savior of the World.
And we are told… many came to believe because of her testimony…Amen

Resources:
Brainstorming the narrative lectionary Facebook group
http://www.workingpreacher.org/narrative_podcast.aspx?podcast_id=970