This is not one of my usual posts. But, a friend of mine, Sister Odilia Korenek, President of Blessed Sacrament Academy, asked me to write something for their newsletter. I said, “Are you sure you want a lapsed Methodist, ex-hippie in your Catholic newsletter?” She said, “Sure.” If you’ve read my blog “Going to Church in my Mind,” you know I have a spiritual side. So, here it is.
Woman at the Well
On the campus of Blessed Sacrament Academy (BSA), there’s a fountain to the left of the main building’s stairs. The fountain has a utilitarian purpose as it makes use of the water overflow from the icemaker in the basement of the building. It is adorned with a statue of a biblical-era woman balancing a water jar on her shoulder. Although, Sister Odilia Korenek, President of BSA, introduced her as Rebekah from the Old Testament, I had immediately thought of the ‘woman at the well’ from the New Testament.
The story of the woman at the well is one of my favorites. Jesus had stopped at Jacob’s well in Samaria where a woman was drawing water, by herself, in the middle of the day. Jesus asks her for a cup of water and strikes up a conversation. He shares with her the message of ‘living water welling up to eternal life.’ John 4.14 Jesus speaks the facts of her situation, “…you’ve had five husbands and the man who you now have is not your husband.” John 4:18 He answers one of her questions with “…yet a time is coming and has come when the true worshiper will worship the Father in spirit and truth…” John 4.23
On many occasions, I’ve heard men preach that the woman was sent from the well by Jesus with the words, “Go and sin no more.” This isn’t what He said. When the women reacts to their conversation with a confirmation of her faith in the coming Messiah, Jesus tell her, “I am He,” revealing something he had not revealed to anyone else. She then takes these words back to her community and “many Samaritans from the town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony.” John 4.39
Jesus encouraged roles for women in His ministry. He called women to share in a life of devotion to God affirming their value as persons of faith. I thank God for the women of the Bible who give us our rich heritage. And, I thank God for the strong, intelligent women who have been my companions in my personal faith journey.
And, Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute, but that’s another story.
A good book to read about the ‘real’ women in the Bible is Margaret Wold’s “Women of Faith and Spirit.”