I was reflecting on John 4 at Starbucks this morning. I had read the story of the Samaritan woman at the well many times. This morning verse 27 jumped out:
“Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, ‘What do you seek?’ or ‘Why are you talking with her?'”
One of the things that I hear people describe as a fallacy of the Bible is that it is bent against women. Eve caused the fall, Delilah tricked Samson, etc. Whenever I sit down and read scripture, I don’t see this. Adam was passive and cast off responsibility to his wife which essentially makes him a poor husband. Samson fell for Delilah’s trickery even after she has tried to trick him before. He was blinded by his own desires. In other words, it was the shortcomings of men that led to their own sin.
Then we see how Jesus interacts with women. Taken in context, it is in direct opposition of the idea that the Bible is set out against women. The culture of the time and place of Jesus was oppressive against women. They were seen as little more than property to own. In the story of the Samaritan woman, not only was Jesus talking to a woman like He would with others, she was Samaritan. She was an outcast to the Jewish culture. This amazed the disciples. Men just did not engage in conversation with women in this way, let alone a Samaritan woman.
This isn’t all. Jesus revealed Himself to women first after He rose. He saved an adulterous woman from being stoned. He just surprises and breaks the cultural norms time and time again, not just for the sake of breaking them, though.
Jesus’ ultimate mission was to save us from sin through His death and resurrection. Through this, we see God’s heart for us. We also see His heart through the many things Jesus did on the way to the cross. Women aren’t property to own. They are fundamentally different than men, but that doesn’t make them lesser. On the contrary, Genesis says, “In His own image, He created them.”
What can we do with this today? The western culture is still consumed with the objectification of women through sexualization. Many men pour over images of women to carry out their own fantasies. There needs to be a continuing paradigm shift within the hearts of men. We need to adopt God’s heart and let go of our own, because we are sick. God loves His creation. He saw it as good. He saved it through Jesus. Let us ask ourselves what we can do to honor that.