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Women of Great Faith

Women of Great Faith

Author:
James Spruell, Ph.D.

 

The Woman at the Well


(Continued from page 1)



Divorce in Judea

In her day divorce was simple, and could be done for almost any reason. She simply had to be given a writ of divorce and her clothes and belongings set outside. The Talmud allowed a man to divorce a woman “because she spoiled his dinner or simply because he finds another woman more attractive, and the woman's consent to the divorce is not required”.[1] The 19th chapter of Mathew reinforces the ease of divorce that then prevailed: "The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?" (Matthew 19:3).

Jewish law suggests that it was the woman who was abused for only men could initiate divorce and not women. As for her living with another man, she may have been a live-in cook of sorts. Custom may not have accepted a woman living alone.

We can also conclude that was she was not wealthy -- women of wealth did not draw their own water. Yet she was willing to share that which she had with a stranger. And in turn, she too desired deeply to drink of the water that he freely brought to all on earth that would receive it.

His conversation with her is among the longest recorded in the New Testament. Her spirituality was keen enough to recognize that she stood with a prophet while her detractors -- those whom she may have avoided by drawing water at noon -- did not.

The Savior’s deep respect for women is well illustrated in his reaction to the Samaritan woman. In that season men did not speak to women publically although Jesus often did so. He had great reason to shun this woman for she not only was a Samaritan but a virtual outcast from her own people.

In short she was an outcast among the outcast -- a contest that I wouldn’t want to win. But his conversation with her became symbolic of his great love.


She came to draw water from Jacob’s well at noon seeking only to quietly fill her vessel from the well. Afterwards, she left filled with joy and declared that she had found the Messiah.


At the well, the Good Shepherd left the 99 (he sent his apostles & disciples on ahead into Jericho) that he could tend to the one. Ever wonder how he knew that the one was in need, and that she would be at the well? The answer lies in the same as how he knew the fish contained the coin that would pay his taxes.

He left the 99 to search her out, specifically, not by chance, that he might tend to her wounds that she as you and I might always know of his great love.

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