I read Professor Lose’s article for devotions this morning, along with John 4 again. Excellent stuff.
While Jesus conversation with a Samaritan woman in public is scandalous, and even astonishes the disciples, we must not assume that she is a scandalous woman. A bad girl.
And at excellent read is the book “Bad Girls of the Bible.” This book not only delves into some of the interesting characters of the Bible but also exposes society’s need to have a bad girl, as a counterpoint to self-righteous moralism. Painting easy, vulnerable targets as bad makes me look and feel good about myself. But while men hate the bad girl, deep down we want her. “I’m a bad girl.” Wink. “A very, very bad girl.”
There is nothing in this text to suggest she is a bad girl, though some interpreters have wanted to make her a prostitute. The fact that she has been divorced five times may very well be, Lose suggests, that she has been widowed five times. Even if she has been divorced five times, he most likely divorced her. That’s how it worked. Women had few rights. Especially if she had been divorced five times she was in a very vulnerable place, a situation of powerlessness, which Jesus. “sees,” showing his prophetic vision.
Do you “see” the vulnerable? Or do you “see” the powerful who look down upon the vulnerable, powerless and stigmatized, yearning for God’s mercy?