Why make a judgment on what you don’t know?
John 4: 5-18
5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. 7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 17 “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
John is keen to show us where they are on the GPS map.
They are near the bones of Joseph.
In Joshua 24 it records how Joshua called the people and said ‘Choose this day who you will serve’ and he made a covenant with God for himself and his household and the people of God. “And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver” (v32).
In that same place where Joseph’s bones were placed, a symbol of how one man suffered for the purpose of bringing salvation to others is John’s story.
In that same place where Joseph whose blessing was to be a fruitful vine climbing over a wall (Genesis 49:21) sits Jesus the true vine (15:1).
But there’s another person there. The Samaritan woman. Is she also connected to the story of Joseph and Jesus in that she was a suffering woman who would later lead her village to salvation?
Who was this woman?
Was she immoral going through husbands like no-tomorrow or was she a suffering woman (women were not permitted to initiate divorces)? Did they divorce her or had they died?
Was she a fallen woman or a suffering woman?
Was the man she lived with her boyfriend or was he an uncle or another relative who was looking after her financially?
Is the time of midday (where she was least likely to meet people in the heat of the day) an indicator she was ashamed or depressed?
You can hold to either position. Many do.
But the truth is we don’t fully know.
And so it is in maybe the next conversation you have with someone or the next time you see someone walk towards you.
It is hard to judge people’s stories. So why do we try?