Adultery? Divorce? Are we missing the point?
The story of the Samaritan woman is a beautiful glimpse at Jesus’s ministry of freedom. But if you’re like me, you’ve only heard of her as a sinful, adulterous woman who was confronted and convicted by Jesus.
Is that really her story? After all, divorce was not legal for women in that time and place. She might have been widowed, divorced due to infertility (or any number of reasons), or a mixture. If she had been caught in adultery, she would have been killed- that was the law. So why do we so often hear her story through the presumption of her sexual sin?
There’s more to her story. Jesus sought her out, had a deep historical and theological conversation with her, at a well with significant meaning.
Perhaps we should take time to better understand her. She is the example Jesus is teaching from when he tells the disciples that they must open their eyes to the harvest that awaits them.
Jesus worked with and through the Samaritan woman to bring many to Him. Now the disciples will reap from her work in that city and will gather the harvest.
“I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.” John 4:38 (NLT)
Read more about the history and context that shaped this passage in John 4 here: Jesus and the Samaritan Woman