Looking Past the World and Into the Heart: Sermon for March 12th, 2023Mar 14, 2023We know little about the Samaritan woman at the well, but there are some things we can gather about her from cultural and historical knowledge, and it’s that Jesus went out of his way to talk to her despite her being a bottom-of-the-pole social pariah. She was a woman in a society where women were demeaned and disregarded. She was a Samaritan, a race of people whom Jews didn’t associate with and considered enemies. And she was fetching water alone– traditionally, women would fetch water in groups at the break of day. The fact that the Samaritan woman was by herself at midday to take water from the well suggests that she was an outcast from her peers (likely having to do with her numerous husbands, though we do not know why she had so many, if she had been taken advantage of, if they had died, etc). Despite these things not being in her favor, that doesn’t stop Jesus from talking with her, nor does it stop her from being deeply curious about him– she asks him pointed, direct questions, and while we cannot read tone from just the text, many scholars believe that she was being facetious and even teasing towards Jesus with some of her questions. When his answers were just as startling as her questions, she was amazed, and brought his words back to the citizens of Sychar. Notably, though Nicodemus– a member of Jewish ruling class and expert of the faith that we encountered last week– couldn’t wrap his head around what Jesus was saying, this community of so-called enemies believed and welcomed Jesus, embracing him as the Messiah.