The Woman at the Well

3 comments Written on August 31st, 2016     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
Ellie VergoweEllie VerGowe is currently serving as Ministerial Resident for Community Outreach at First Covenant Church on Capitol Hill in Seattle. Ellie enjoys dancing, being outside and reading a good book on a rainy day with a friend and a cup of tea.

I recently read the story of the woman that Jesus meets at the well in John 4. Jesus is traveling and finally sits down at a well in Samaria in the heat of the day. As he is sitting there, a woman comes to the well to draw water. Her story comes out a bit as Jesus talks with her. She is at the well in the hottest part of the day because of her marital situation. We don’t know the whole story, but she has been through a lot. Maybe other women make fun of her when she draws water in cooler parts of the day and she has decided to go to the well alone.

The Samaritan Woman - John 4:1-42It is all very scandalous really…she is a ridiculed woman and left out of her community. She, a Samaritan of not “pure” bloodline speaks with a Jewish rabbi alone. And Jesus and this woman converse, she gives him water and he gifts her with the knowledge of his gift of grace and life…of living water.

Jesus explicitly tells her, this scandalous woman, that HE is the one that she and everyone else had been waiting for…the Christ, the Messiah. This woman sees the truth and in her joy runs back to her community to preach the gospel. But then John tells us that she says this in verse 29: “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”

What? Didn’t Jesus JUST tell her that he was the Messiah? While I don’t know how all the ways internalized patriarchy manifested itself in this ancient context, this woman’s response was a word of challenge for me when I read it most recently. This woman preaches with a question, though she knows the answer full well, and from the mouth of God, no less. I have noticed this pattern within myself and in many female colleagues. When I enter meetings, when I preach, when I speak to my colleagues, I speak with an air of apology and question. I say, “I don’t know if this would work, but…” and “I am still learning, but what if we…” and “I think…” and “I’m sorry…” while most of my male colleagues state their opinions and thoughts with an air of confidence. In their speech there are few questions and little to no apologies.

While I believe that questions and apologies aren’t bad and can sometimes even welcome others into conversation more, many of us women have been socialized to speak without confidence and with apologizing for the space that we take up in the world…as if the world wasn’t desperate for the voices of women preaching the gospel (whether it knows it or not!). The Samaritan woman preached the gospel with questions but God still ushered people to faith through her words. The gospel is still preached in our questions and apologies and fear…but my sisters…we know the truth. We’ve been gifted. We’ve been called. Let us, we who preach while being women (a scandal to so many!), preach without questioning our place to do so and tell the
truth without apology.

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3 comments “The Woman at the Well”

Ellie – I could drop the mic on this one! May God give women the boldness and confidence needed to speak with the authority we have been given! Prophetically proclaiming the good news of grace and hope to our God who continues to send us back to our villages to proclaim the truth of rescue, hope and deliverance. Thanks for leaving it all out there Ellie!

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Thanks Rev. Gilliard! Amen! May we be bold because God made us, calls us, prepares us and is with us! Thanks for reading 🙂

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I just realized how I have been through the same situations several times. But I never thought that it is because I am a woman. This article is an eye-opener for me. I will be careful to nurture self-confidence and trust in the call of God. Many thanks for this inspiring testimonial.

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