This past week we listened in to the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman; we heard of the disciple’s jaws dropping at the sight; we overheard the glee of the Samaritan woman’s neighbourhood when they recognized Jesus as the Messiah. Further to the audible voices, were the silent ones – arms full of food & the empty bucket; the living water & the stagnant cistern; a Jewish male and Samaritan female alone under the noon day sun. And with a full out literary jab, the Gospel writer John uses the witness of the Samaritan woman to point to the Messiah. (Which is the icing on the cake since Samaritans and their word were considered worthless by the Jews, so much so that they were forbidden to be witness in a Jewish court of law)
The overtones of this encounter? Hope. Hope for the ones who have no chance of escaping their situation. Hope for those who’ve been pigeon holed. Hope for the hopeless.
“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
hear me, that your soul may live.”
At the beginning of Israel’s history, then , is the fundamental fact
that it has been made for the benefit of the world. Israel’s calling
is fundamentally missiological; its purpose for existence is the
restoration of the world to its pre-Edenic state. Genesis 12:1-3 is
thus ‘the aetiology of all Israelite aetiologies’, showing that “the
ultimate purpose of redemption which God will bring out in Israel
is that of bridging the gulf between God and the entire human race.”
(Stephen G. Dempster)