In the last article, we were studying in Genesis 1 and 2 to see how the Lord God Almighty set up and defined marriage between a woman and a man or a man and a woman. In this article, Part 2, we will be examining Scripture from 1 Corinthians 11:2-3, (but also including verses 4-16 for the full treatment), as these Scriptures were listed at the bottom of Gavin Peacock’s article. When dealing with words in the Scriptures, the student must first acquaint themselves with the words and how they were understood in the day that they were spoken. Too often, verses of Scripture are lifted out of their context in order to establish a point that was never intended by the author of the epistle. Plus, there are instances of cultural issues that the author is addressing within the letter that are not relevant to our day and time. In those cases, the heart of the prohibition should be established and then the central idea can be applied to our day.
In the case of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, it is addressing the cultural issue of head coverings. Furthermore, looking to the last chapter of 10:1-14, which deals with Israel’s tendencies to fall into idolatrous practices; Paul addresses both Jew and Gentile Christian believers, especially those that were former pagans, who shopped for their meat supplies in the ‘shambles,’ which contained meats first offered to idols and then were thrown out. This meat was collected and sold at greatly reduced prices. Paul allows for this meat to be bought and eaten as long as they basically do not practice the pagan rites that went along with the meat. So in v. 25, Paul instructs them to go ahead and eat the meat sold in the shambles, yet just do not ask any questions about its history. So we are dealing with the cultural issues of Corinth. In v. 32, Paul once again instructs the believers to
1 Cor 10:32-11:1
Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God. Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Then in v. 33 Paul is basically saying that (without sin) he accommodates other people in order that he might save them; then in 11:1 instructs the Corinthians to be followers of him just as he follows Christ. So this then sets the stage for the following verses in which Paul lays out what seemingly looks like a prescriptive command that women should be veiled. However, according to James B. Hurley, “women in ancient Judaism and in the Greco-Roman culture were generally not veiled in public–the shawl/face veil for women came into Near Eastern custom later through Islam…Men and women were given a cooperative social mandate in creation; women’s role was restricted only religiously in Israel*”
Whether there was a specific sect that was present in Corinth that required veiling or as some have suggested that gnostic influences had perhaps penetrated the church community and were bringing disruption into the church. Further, Paul is answering the question that was sent to him and so verses 2-15 elaborate upon this fact and Paul lays out his reasons, making reference to Genesis 2 that woman came from man, etc. This brings to mind that the religious cults were dominated by women, such as worshipping Bacchus, and if certain adherents had come into the Christian community bringing disruption concerning the order of creation, i.e. women being the first created, this would then explain why Paul brings up Genesis 2, to establish truth among the believers. However, in v.11 he clearly shows his liberationist perspective by clearly announcing that while woman came from man, God had created their spirits at the same time, thereby showing their equality before God (see Genesis 1:26-27).
1 Corinthians 11:8-11
For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
It was only the woman’s body that came from man, probably with God taking some of Adam’s DNA and thus forming her body. Her soul was unique to her own self, having received it after God blew her own spirit into her body, thus was her soul made. Further, with Paul answering the Corinthians’ questions regarding the veiling of women, we come to verse 16, which almost always is never addressed by those who are trying to affirm their patriarchal or complementarian views regarding the subordination of women to men. Quite clearly, Paul states
1 Corinthians 11:16
But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.
Therefore, if any of the Corinthian believers were going to still be argumentative about this subject, Paul declares, WE HAVE NO SUCH CUSTOM, NEITHER THE CHURCHES OF GOD. This writer understands the WE to be a reference to Israel and then Paul includes the other churches of God who also do not have the practice or custom of veiling women for worship. Why? Because Paul affirms that women have already been given a permanent covering, namely, their hair.
Basically, Paul was addressing their internal quarrels and squabbling about who was right, and since most commentators do not believe that Greco-Roman women practiced veiling, one can only surmise that perhaps this had come into their community from an external source such as Gnostic beliefs that were assailing the community. The portion concerning the creation reflects Paul’s teaching to Timothy in Ephesus, which was also dealing with Gnostic infiltration into their churches. This writer does not believe that Paul was attempting to establish or re-establish patriarchal views, because other letters affirm and further the ideas first established by the Lord Jesus Christ that women were to now be on the same par as the men. They were to be allowed to learn right along with the men, and when finally established in the doctrine, they were being allowed to teach and to preach, thus showing that the Lord Jesus Christ had re-established at least that portion of Eden back to mankind, that men and women were created by God to be fully equal with each other.
Therefore, those who practice complementarianism are still trying to live under the sinful regime of patriarchalism which had its beginnings after the first couple had been expelled from the Garden. So with the purchased redemption paid for by Christ, why indeed would anyone want to go back to the former repressive lifestyle first perpetrated by sinful men? It does make one wonder.
*Excerpt taken from “Slavery, Sabbath, War & Women” by Willard M. Swartley
Is complementarianism truly biblical? As far as this writer’s personal studies have led, it is not. When a true student of the Word of God, or the Bible, reads such articles as that written by Owen Strachan, the President of the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, who has laid out some of the pillars of his beliefs regarding complementarianism, and then lists supposed Scriptural accounts to back his assertions up, it simply does not bear out. In the first part of his article he covers the controversy regarding Gavin Peacock, a pastor located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada who also believes in complementarianism and who also wrote his own article regarding this subject. However, what will be covered in this article are the points Strachan lists in his article concerning complementarian viewpoints.
In the Bible, God makes the cosmos in Genesis 1, and then he makes man and woman, husband and wife, in Genesis 2. He gives this relationship structure and form. Adam is the head of his wife; his wife is his helper. Eve is created from Adam. Her body depends on his for existence. This is a signal from the very start of Scripture: the position of marital headship given to men is one of responsibility and sacrifice, not ease and self-indulgence (Strachan).
Strachan quotes Genesis 1 and 2, so let us read these Scriptures to see if this is what they say. Verses 1-25 tell of God speaking creation into existence. It is in v26-27 that we first find the beginnings of mankind.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
The only thing in these two verses that Strachan is correct about is that God created man…male and female created He them. No sign of order…no headship…just a simple statement of fact. Plus, He unequivocally states, “Let THEM have dominion…” So, God is the Creator. Exactly what did God create? He created the male and female spirits. How do we know this? The Word that God spoke about His creation: He was going to make mankind in His image. What is God’s image? It is Spirit, as we find in John 4:24, “God is Spirit.” If the age-old argument is to be proffered that the word ‘male’ is first and then ‘female;’ well in the order of things…something has to be first and something must be last when dealing with a list of words. It still gives no authority of placement in these verses. To say so is eisegesis of the worst kind; and what exactly is ‘eisegesis’?
Eisegesis (/ˌaɪsəˈdʒiːsəs/; from the Greek preposition εἰς “into” and the ending from the English word exegesis, which in turn is derived from ἐξηγεῖσθαι “to lead out”) is the process of interpreting a text or portion of text in such a way that the process introduces one’s own presuppositions, agendas, or biases into and onto the text. This is commonly referred to as reading into the text. The act is often used to “prove” a pre-held point of concern to the reader and to provide him or her with confirmation bias in accordance with his or her pre-held agenda (Wikipedia).
The next chapter of the Bible that Strachan refers to is Genesis 2 and the verses, though not listed, are these:
And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
God first created their spirits, but then He put them in ONE body (a foreshadowing of the ONE body of Christ, His church), and then God looked at Adam (meaning, ‘red earth’), and said “I will make him an help meet (Hbw= ezer, a strong help)”; so God took woman’s spirit out of Adam and gave the female spirit her own fleshly body. Adam then said “…she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” As we read this biblical text in Genesis 2, there still isn’t any command of God for man to have ‘headship’ over his wife. It simply is just not there! In verse 24 we read:
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
This verse sounds more like commentary from Moses who wrote the Pentateuch, especially since at this juncture there was no father or mother to leave. There would be in the future, but not at this scene in the Garden of Eden. Furthermore, Moses lived in the midst of a patriarchal society and so it would behoove one to believe that as the writer of Genesis, that this would have been the perfect time to have instituted patriarchalism or complementarianism if this truly was the will of God. But as we have just seen, Moses did not institute either biblical worldview when he wrote the very words of God.
So for those who hold the complementarian view and for them to say that the book of Genesis supports ‘headship’ and ‘wifely submission’ are errant in their views because the record of the creation of man by God shows no such thing. Furthermore, there isn’t any commands uttered by God to Adam (who was both male and female at the same time) to engage in any such practice. Neither did God command the now separated man and woman to engage in any such lifestyle.
The first we read about any such possibility is in Genesis 3:16 and yet God is not cursing the woman, but merely tells her that since sin has now entered into their existence, the resulting skewing of their equality will now be that the male Adam will begin to rule over the female Adam. We should now see that this ‘headship’ if you will and forced ‘submission’ leads into the patriarchal system, but it was only introduced after sin entered the Garden of Eden and not before when they were in God’s paradise. So how is this God’s perfect will?
This writer will continue in additional articles to cover this large topic. So stay tuned.
In days of old unmarried people met at church picnics, BBQ’s, at church, and if they went on an outing together, they had a chaperone. That all began to change in the 1950’s onward. Couples went on dates by themselves and as it was known to happen in the days when chaperones went along (this is why they were there in the first place…to prevent too much closeness…), too much closeness began to happen. A long detailed account of what occurred over this time period until the present day isn’t really necessary. If you are over 30 you know what happened and if you are under 20 then ask your parents. Free love turned out to not be free at all. Huge social costs were accrued and we are all still paying for all of that ‘free stuff.’
Then the secular world developed dating sites on the internet, and in a way the internet was the new chaperone (at least at first) until the couples in question wanted to meet. But this article isn’t about the secular dating sites necessarily. This is about Christian singles not being able to meet other Christian singles. The pool of available Christian singles in every age category is limited. Unless you happen to live near a mega-church that has a broad spectrum of varying ages in the singles category, your chances of meeting Mr. or Ms. Right are drastically limited. This does not preclude miracles from God. Of course, you should not jump into marriage without the counsel of the Lord. There simply are just too many people who claim to be Christian (and maybe they are, but just not sold-out), who after marriage begin to show their true colors.
So it seems then that some Christians began the first Christian internet dating site, patterning itself after the secular dating sites. The first site that this writer was aware of was Christian Cafe and then later on this writer also tried out Christian Mingle. The only difference is that the people who sign up for this service are supposed to be Christians. The pool gets even smaller when you limit yourself to other sold-out disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. While none of us are perfect, there is a drastic difference between the lukewarm Christian and the on-fire-for-the-Lord-Jesus-Christian. Even the Lord Jesus Christ doesn’t want lukewarm Christians either, for it is written,
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
If you are ‘hot’ then the Lord already has you, and if you are ‘cold’ then the Lord can set you on fire for Him. However, if you are lukewarm…you’re just too comfortable in your pew, throwing in your five bucks every Sunday into the offering plate.
This is where the trouble begins and what this article is about; namely this: can you really tell over the cold internet cabling if someone is truly hot-on-fire for the Lord? It is very easy to put forth a false picture of yourself when there is such a great distance. Of course, the idea is to meet one another, hopefully to find out the truth. But here is a sure-fire way to tell if someone is a true sold-out disciple: you yourself need to actually live the sold-out life of a disciple, and if the person you are talking to on the Christian dating site is not sold-out, you will soon hear the truth coming out of their mouth. Or when you actually meet, if the other person wants to begin a sexual encounter with you outside of Holy Matrimony, then there’s a clue that just screams at you that this person is not a sold-out-on-fire disciple of the Lord Jesus. This probably sounds so old-fashioned, but truth is still truth!
The Scriptures speak boldly about fleeing physical desires and the Lord Jesus was very plain when He spoke about cutting off physical desires in
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
Of course, this does not mean a literal cutting off of the mentioned parts, but cutting off the source of entry, which is the mind, as we allow wicked thoughts to enter and then we proceed to entertain those thoughts until sin is produced in the flesh. Christians are still under the Laws of God and we are still expected to obey God in our daily lives. This writer has written fourteen articles about this subject to date (see below “The Ten Commandments: Are they still relevant?” for some links to these articles).
So should Christians even use these Christian dating sites? They can be helpful, but just be aware that there are probably a lot of phony Christians or lukewarm ones trolling those sites too. Of course, there are also the true-blue disciples of the Lord Jesus out there as well. There is also a video attached to this article that is a parody of these Christian dating sites that is totally cute, it is meant to be funny, so don’t be offended. This writer had a good belly laugh while watching the video.
So anyone up for a church picnic or BBQ? Maybe we should go back to the old-fashioned way of meeting other singles.
Focus on the Family will debut their documentary, ‘Irreplaceable’ on May 6, 2014. This documentary is about the shifting cultural values that just might possibly irrevocably affect family life, not just here in the United States but worldwide. This is only the first in a series of documentaries that Focus on the Family will be producing. But in a nutshell, this documentary is about
Every member of the human race has the desire for significance—a desire to belong. And the family is where those deepest longings are fulfilled.
Unfortunately, the word “family” has all but lost its meaning in our modern cultural landscape. And the fallout has been significant. Divorce. Crime. Poverty. Addictions. Abuse. Our attempts to redefine and reimagine the family only make these problems worse, not better. When the family is weakened, society suffers. But strong families make the world a better place!(Focus on the Family.)
Everyone has seen the disintegration of the core family unit and the attempt by so many to redefine what ‘family’ is and what it is all about. According to God’s plan, He created male and female and initially placed both spirits in the same body. Eventually, after Adam began to ask God why he did not have a mate, someone who looked like him, i.e. human, God placed Adam into a deep sleep and removed woman from him, forming a new and separate body for her and then presented her to Adam who immediately recognized her as being a part of him. Thus do we read in
Genesis 2:18, 21-24
And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
God’s plan has always been one Man and one Woman, coming together in unity and forming a family. After the first couple, each man and each woman were to leave their parents after they were mature, to form yet another family and a safe place for their children to grow up and mature and then leave their parents in an everlasting succession of generations.
The family has always been the core or the nucleus of God’s plan, which was to bring forth His Messiah, His Son, who would be His perfect Lamb and thus offer salvation to each and every person who would do just one thing: believe that God had sent His Son into the world, to die for the sins of many, and that God had raised Him from the dead.
So obviously, the family has always been under attack by God’s enemy: satan. The family has been under attack through shifting cultural mores, divorce, the homosexual/lesbian agenda, the sexual revolution of the 1960’s in their attempts to redefine what ‘family’ means and who it should consist of; namely, two or more people who ‘love’ each other. But this is not what God Almighty said that a ‘family’ consisted of; God defined it as ‘one man and one woman,’ coming together and remaining committed to each other for a lifetime. In other words, “For better or for worse, in sickness and in health…Till death do us part…”
This documentary by Focus on the Family will be discussing these issues and much more as they ask questions and offer some solutions to rebuild your family and the families of others. As Focus on the Family has written
But the documentary is just the beginning. You can make a commitment to building your own family on a solid foundation that will span the generations by making the Gen3 promise. What is the Gen3 Promise? It is a commitment to have a thriving marriage and family for the next 3 generations. It starts with a promise to daily invest in your own family knowing that a healthy family will impact generations to come. So, make the Gen3 promise and start living the Gen3 life now! (Focus on the Family).
This documentary is running in theatres near you on a limited run basis. Tuesday, May 6, 2014 is the opening debut and in most cities it is running for one showing. So check and see what times are available and make this a must-see movie this coming week.
Well, here at last is Part 5 of this series, concerning how the Lord Jesus interacted with the women who followed Him and those that He encountered as He traveled. We stopped in Part 4 at John 4:25-26, at which point the Lord Jesus had boldly declared to this despised woman that HE was the long-awaited-for Messiah. As a recap, this was a time, at least culturally, that Jewish men did not speak to women; barely did they speak to their wives or daughters, and most certainly they did not speak to Samaritans, let alone a Samaritan woman. So let us continue:
And upon this came His disciples, and marveled that He talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or Why talkest thou with her?
As we come upon this scene as it is written in the Scriptures, the Jewish culture of that day is demonstrated in that they were clearly shocked that the Jewish Rabbi that they were following was clearly not behaving like any other Rabbi that they had ever seen or heard about. Yet they were too intimidated by the Lord Jesus’ status as a Rabbi to question His behavior. It is at this point that in:
The woman then left her water pot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?
In that culture, because one had to walk to a community well to draw your water supply for the day, women did not just haphazardly leave their water jars lying around the precincts of the town in which they lived. The water pot was a functional tool that they used each and every day, and even if they were relatively inexpensive to buy or to make, women still did not just leave them anywhere they felt like leaving them. So what does this tell us about the Samaritan woman’s state? She was obviously wildly excited that she had just heard from the Lord Jesus’ own lips that HE was the Messiah. However, because she lived within the confines of her own culture as well, she knew that the word of a woman would be doubted, unless of course there were at least two other women who could vouch for the first woman. She knew that she would have to get the men interested in coming out to see for themselves this prophet at the well.
In the meanwhile, Jesus’ disciples were trying to get their Master to eat some food, since it was now noon time, but the Lord Jesus said:
…My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work.
Totally uninterested in physical food at this point, the Lord Jesus launches off into a teaching moment for His disciples and questions them with:
Say not ye, There are yet four months, and comes harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
At this time of the year, this was most likely the barley harvest that would have been ready in the next four months, and it would have looked like the field was white. However, it is thought that the Lord Jesus was also viewing all of the towns’ people, that were by now crossing the fields to come towards Him and primarily they would have been wearing white clothing.
John 4:39, 42
And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on Him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.
And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
This despised woman with whom even the other women in the town would not openly socialize with, was chosen by the Messiah, the Lord Jesus, to be the first one ever to hear openly His proclamation that He was the Messiah to the World. Even the men were grudgingly acknowledging that she was right, even though they hedged their comments with, “Now we believe, not because of thy saying…” It indeed was because of her own word of testimony that He was THAT prophet…the one that everyone had heard about and up to that point were still waiting for His arrival. Jesus had just now identified Himself to a woman who in the view of her contemporary society, didn’t amount to much in anyone’s eyes.
It is interesting to see how throughout the Gospels, the Lord Jesus interacted with the women of His day in an openly accepting manner, thereby letting these women know that He valued them as people in their own right. The Creator, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ had originally created both man and woman, creating them as equal beings in His sight, and said, “It is good!”
If you would like to read more about the passages that I covered here in Part Five concerning Biblical women and especially about the Gospel of John 3-4, I have written a book titled, The Holy, The Common and The Despised. It is available for purchase for $10.00 and you can follow this link to New Covenant Christian Ministries’ website to obtain a copy for yourself. God Bless.
Well, this is now Part 4 of the series ‘A Biblical perspective concerning Jesus and women,’ and in Part 3 we had just begun to examine the passage concerning the Samaritan woman at the well who had just encountered the Lord Jesus one hot day at noon. She experienced her encounter with the Lord Jesus and it had just surely changed her life forever. We left off from the last article, at the place where the Lord Jesus tells the woman to go and get her husband and to come back to the well.
The Samaritan woman responded to the Lord Jesus’ command and answered Him, “I have no husband!” One can surmise that this was surely and odd request, at least by our modern standards, but not so in that day. This was also a more obvious way for the Lord Jesus to involve the town’s residents by having them come out to the city well and resort there and listen to the teaching that the Lord was about to give. What better place to teach about the concept of living water? By positioning Himself next to a physical well of water, He had a built-in aid to help them learn His instructions about the new life that He was about to inaugurate. Besides which, by asking the woman to go and bring her husband back, this also demonstrated to the woman that He was just not the everyday Jewish man walking through Samaria, but that He was a prophet indeed. Jesus’ next words told the woman this when He stated in:
You have well said that you do not have a husband. For you have had five husbands and the one you are currently living with is not your husband.” The woman responded, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.
The woman now receiving this information, she turns the conversation immediately to religion and she launches into the topic concerning the Jewish vs. Samarian worship places, and which one is the correct place to worship the True God. But here we have an unusual situation to be sure. We have a woman who steps out of her cultural norms to address a Jewish Rabbi by asking Him which place of worship is the correct one. Not only did Jewish men not converse with women, they most certainly did not with Samaritan women. Women of any culture did not speak with men other than the men in their family, except of course when they went to the market and of a necessity had to negotiate prices.
Once again, the Lord Jesus adroitly ignores her polemical jab and states unequivocally:
Woman, believe me, the hour comes when you shall neither in this mountain, nor at Jerusalem, worship the Father. But the hour comes when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is Spirit and they that worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth.
The Lord Jesus didn’t perceive any difficulty at all with Him teaching this woman privately, despite the fact that she was a Samaritan, a woman, and she was viewed as a base sinner. With this in mind, it still is difficult for this author to comprehend why some theologians refuse to see that the Lord did not discriminate in His dealings with people. He did not choose only men to have as His disciples, but clearly made an open call to both women and men to follow Him and to become His disciples. Clearly, the Lord Jesus opened the salvific pathway to both genders, and the pathway to discipleship and service was now being offered to both. By the standards of His day, the Lord Jesus would have been considered a radical feminist. Although this term should not be viewed by 21st century ideaologies of feminism, but rather by the standards by which His Father, the Creator had originally created both male and female. The Creator had originally given to both the male and the female full authority over all of His creation and they were both on a plane of equality with each other. It was sin that disrupted this perfect relationship that Adam and Eve shared together. It was also this same knowledge of the Scriptures regarding Creation that the Lord Jesus continually operated from in his dealings with both men and women.
As with the next two verses, the Lord Jesus often revealed to women what He did not with the men. Here, the Samaritan woman is the first one that the Lord Jesus revealed without question that He was the Messiah, the one that the Jewish nation had waited for thousands of years. It should also be noted that she belonged to the despised race of the Samaritans, the ones whom the Jews would have no dealings with at all. Yet here He honors this despised woman with such an astounding truth.
The woman said unto Him, I know that Messias comes, which is called Christ: when He is come He will tell us all things. Jesus said unto her,
I that speak to thee am He.
It might be difficult for the modern reader to comprehend the full force of the honor accorded to this woman. Simply said, Jewish women were not directly taught the Scriptures, if they were to learn anything about the Word of God they learned it only by listening to the men discussing the Scriptures. Then also she was a Samaritan and she was a sinner, even rejected by her own people. Yet here was the Messiah Himself openly accepting her and treating her as His equal and being a woman of worth in His eyes.
Teachings in this series have been adapted from this writer’s book as listed below:
(Robinson, J. The Holy, the Common and The Despised, © 2009). You can follow this link and purchase the full copy of the book, but there are only a limited number of copies left.
So, if the issues of gender equality, not just for women, but for both women and men functioning as equals in the church is a concern for any of my readers, then you should check out Christians for Biblical Equality. They have a local branch, the Chicago Greater Chapter and they may be reached at email@example.com if you would like to inquire about membership.
In the last article, which was Part 2, a fuller detailed treatment was given to the biblical women which were highlighted. Therefore, in this article, the biblical story concerning the Samaritan woman will be examined as we continue through this series.
This Gospel story opens up John 4:3-4 as the Lord Jesus is leaving Judea to go back into Galilee and He knows that “He must needs go through Samaria.” Because of the past enmity and hatred, the Jews and the Samaritans did not associate in any way. They did not inter-marry, and they barely spoke to each other, even though Samaria stood between Judea and Galilee. Because of this geographical positioning, any Jew that wished to travel to Galilee traveled to the Samarian border, headed east to the outside of their border and then resumed traveling north until they reached the outside northern border of Samaria. At which point, they then headed back west and then north into Galilee. This is why the statement that Jesus makes, saying that “he must needs go through Samaria” should stand out for the reader of this passage. Why? The loyal Jewish person would never travel into Samaria unless the utmost important of reasons actually required them to do so.
Therefore, when the Lord Jesus arrives in the town called Sychar, which is where Jacob had dug a well, He found a Samaritan woman at the well at noon, drawing water for her daily needs. He approached her, sat down on the well to rest and asked her to draw some water for him. As we read in:
Then said the woman of Samaria unto him, “how is it that you being a Jew ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria? For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
The woman was keenly aware of the cultural discrepancies between the two nations. So the Lord Jesus answered her and said:
If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that was saying to you, Give me to drink; you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.
It is interesting to note that here at this point; the woman throws out some polemical bait to see if the Lord Jesus would respond to her taunt regarding which national heritage was greater. Just as interesting, the Lord Jesus deftly ignores the bait stating:
Whosoever drinks of this water shall thirst again, but whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst; but the water I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
The Lord having thrown out His own bait towards the woman begins to reel her in, even as a master fisherman would do.
Imagine for a moment, if you will, someone telling you that they have a source of water that never runs dry is continually moving, so it’s ‘living’ and when you drink it, you will never be thirsty again. Moreover, if this concept is taken further, not only will you never be thirsty again, but also this water will be a well that springs up into everlasting life. Imagine! Anyone who reads this passage can almost see the puzzled look that must have been on that woman’s face after hearing the Lord Jesus as He drops that prophetic jewel into her lap, so to speak. It is worthy and so noted that the Lord Jesus is often referred to as the Master Fisherman, and He surely reels the woman in, bait still in her mouth.
If you enjoy the sport of fishing, you know when the fish has soundly bitten into the bait and the hook is clearly embedded. You can now reel it in and put it in your creel or throw it back. The Lord Jesus, true prophet that He is, states to the Samaritan woman:
Jesus said unto her, “Go, call your husband and come back here….
The Lord’s relationship and interactions with the Samaritan woman at the well in Sychar will be continued in Part 4.
If the issues of gender equality, not just for women, but for both women and men functioning as equals in the church is a concern for my readers, then you should check out Christians for Biblical Equality. They have a local branch, the Chicago Greater Chapter and they may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to inquire about membership.