Noon at the Well

Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. John 4:6b

In asking a friend for guidance regarding something I found upsetting, her comment made me look at a familiar story — the Samaritan woman at the well — with new perspective. The Samaritan woman didn’t go to the well when it was cool, which was customary. She went to the well in the heat of day when she could avoid other women.

That bears repeating.

She went to the well in the heat of day when she could avoid other women.

I imagine that suffering heat was preferable to suffering condemnation — physical discomfort preferable to emotional pain. I suppose it’s also possible that the women blocked her from gaining access to the water.

Jesus knew the women who would be there in the morning, and he knew the Samaritan woman who would be there at noon. He went at noon. He also knew much more about the Samaritan than we can possibly know. Over the centuries, many have made assumptions — largely unflattering — about her, but we don’t really know her at all, do we?

No. We don’t.

It struck me how we tend to pay relatively little attention to the women who shunned as compared to the woman who was shunned — as if she is somehow more deserving of condemnation and less deserving of acceptance.

She wasn’t.

Forgive us, Lord, when we assume to know better than you who “deserves” access, and who does not. None of us are deserving. Not one. Help us to serve you and others with an understanding of how desperately we all need your grace.

Your Voice