Intentional Conversations

Jesus shows that women are capable of critical theological engagement of the Gospel. By Justin and Courtney Rose

There is a story in Scripture where Jesus talks with a Samaritan woman at a well. It’s kind of a scandalous story because of who she is: a well-known adulteress. Jesus calls her out, surprising her by knowing she’s had five husbands. The fact that Jesus knows these shameful details about this woman helps convince her that Jesus is who He claims He is—The Messiah.

There’s a lot that one could focus on when reading this passage (John 4:1-42), but there’s also a detail that’s often overlooked. Not only is Jesus talking to a sinful and adulteress woman, but this is the longest-recorded conversation Jesus has with anyone. Scripture records Jesus giving sermons, teaching His disciples, correcting Pharisees and talking to wealthy rulers. Yet, it’s interesting that He reserves His longest conversation with a sinful Samaritan woman. Samaritans were technically related to the Jews, but their religion had gotten skewed overtime. Jews and Samaritans went out of their way to avoid each other. Also, women were thought of as less important than their male counterparts.

In the story of the woman at the well, Jesus intentionally travels to Samaria, sends His disciples away and has a fairly intimate conversation with a woman with quite a reputation. All of these things went against the convention of the time, but seemed perfectly orchestrated to bring great change to this woman and her community.

“By speaking to a woman, Jesus shows that women are capable of critical theological engagement and proclamation of the Gospel.”

In Jesus’s long conversation with the woman, He doesn’t belittle her or treat her as unimportant. Instead, He respects her, has an intelligent and theologically-complex conversation and empowers her to live a better life.

Jesus does a lot of reconciling and healing work by choosing to go out of His way to engage with this woman. He is able to draw her out of her personal sin and into a transformative relationship with the One who is true Living Water. He is able to offer Himself to the Samaritans as the true Messiah and give a theological corrective that changes an entire community of people. Jesus also provides space to show the world that even the lowest members on the social ladder and even the most sinful are worthy of Jesus’s time, energy and individual attention. By speaking to a woman, Jesus shows that women are capable of critical theological engagement and proclamation of the Gospel.

We live in a divided time. Sometimes we go out of our way to avoid the other or we don’t thoughtfully engage those with differing opinions from our own. In this story, Jesus sets an example for us that growth can come through intentional and honest conversation. Jesus proves that sometimes one-on-one conversation can really bear fruit and change someone’s life.  

Daily Readings:

  • March 1: John 4:1-26
  • March 2: John 4:27-38
  • March 3: John 4: 39-42
  • March 4: Genesis 21:8-21
  • March 5: Genesis 24:1-27
  • March 6: Genesis 24:28-66
  • March 7: Genesis 29:1-14
  • March 8: Exodus 2: 11-25
  • March 9: 1 Kings 17:11-16
  • March 10: Hosea 2
  • March 11: John 2:1-12
  • March 12: John 7:25-44
  • March 13: John 8:21-30
  • March 14: Numbers 20:1-13
  • March 15: John 13:31-38
  • March 16: Psalm 69
  • March 17: John 19:28-37
  • March 18: John 3:1-21
  • March 19: Exodus 16
  • March 20: John 6:25-59
  • March 21: John 14:15-31
  • March 22: John 16:1-15
  • March 23: John 20:19-23
  • March 24: Revelation 22:1-5
  • March 25: 2 Kings 4:1-7
  • March 26: 2 Kings 4:8-37
  • March 27: Genesis 32:22-32
  • March 28: Exodus 34:1-9
  • March 29: Luke 1:5-25
  • March 30: Luke 1:26-38
  • March 31: Matthew 1:18-25

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