Daily Worship

A Prayer for Midday

Laura Digan February 08, 2023 3 0
Image credit: Unsplash

John 4: 1-26 (NRSVA)

1 Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, ‘Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John’— 2 although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized— 3 he left Judea and started back to Galilee. 4 But he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.

7 A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’. 8 (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink”, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’ 11 The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?’ 13 Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’ 15 The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.’

16 Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come back.’ 17 The woman answered him, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying, “I have no husband”; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!’ 19 The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.’ 21 Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ 25 The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.’ 26 Jesus said to her, ‘I am he, the one who is speaking to you.’

I love the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well. I love how meeting Jesus empowers the woman. She knows who Jesus is, the Messiah. It is wonderful to see this ordinary woman deep in theological debate with Jesus about the proper place to worship. It is wonderful to see her head off as a witness to Jesus, inviting all her town to come and meet Jesus for themselves.

Many commentators, though, focus on the woman’s marital history and many readers can read this through their own prejudice.

We don’t know why this woman had had five husbands – and it isn’t our place to judge her. It doesn’t say she was divorced five times. But even then it isn’t our place to judge her. She could have been married off as a young girl of 12 or 13. Her husbands may have died. She may be trapped in the custom of levirate marriage and the last male of the line has refused to marry her. While her marital history fascinates commentators and readers, it does not interest Jesus. Nor does he pass moral judgment. We, the reader, put our own prejudice onto this woman.

It isn’t just with scripture we do this. In our day to day lives we make judgements all the time without knowing the full story. We make judgments about celebrities, people on social media, friends, family, people we see in the street.

We make judgments about situations we don’t know all the facts about. Who or what do we need to make time for, to spend time with at the well? To see beyond what we think we know.




Lord Jesus,

You are the water of life

Clean me from my uncleanness

Give me a new heart

Fill me with your spirit

Let me see the blessings that surround me

Let me understand the truth

Keep my attention focused on you

Throughout the rest of this day