John 4 - what if the woman was Muslim?

One of my favorite New Testament stories is of the Samaritan woman's encounter with Jesus at Jacob's well.  I love this story, because it models to me what it means to share the gospel.  In it, I am reminded to speak the truth in love, to invite my neighbor to have his or her thirst quenched by the Living Water, to use what is before me as a tool for witness, and to reach out to those who are marginalized by society.  I typically interpret the woman to represent in modern times those disfranchised in society by race, poverty, or culture.

 But, today when I read it, I saw it in a new way.  The Samaritan woman had faith. She believed in the Torah and worshipped God.  She was at odds with the Jewish believer because she chose to worship God in a different way and she rejected parts of the Scriptures.  I read it and I heard an encounter between Jesus and a Muslim woman.

I also heard the part about her having several husbands in a new way.  Previously, I had seen this as being her choice.  I imagined her as a promiscuous woman, a gypsy of sorts.  But, today I saw her as a woman who had been rejected time and time again.  A woman who had finally given up at being accepted by a husband and had decided for the purpose of survival she was just willing to be with a man who would provide for her, even without the ring.

There are so many ways this story can be read.  Today, I offer it with a few "edits."  Copied and pasted below from, I've put the edits in brackets.  Please read along:

John 4:7-42
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
There *came a woman of [Saudi Arabia] to draw water. Jesus *said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the [Arabian] woman *said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a [Muslim] woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with [Muslims].)10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 11 She *said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? 12 You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” 13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

15 The woman *said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” 16 He *said to her,“Go, call your husband and come here.” 17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus *said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.” 19 The woman *said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped [at] this [Kaaba], and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” 21 Jesus *said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither [at this Kaaba] nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 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 (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” 26 Jesus *said to her, I who speak to you am He.”

27 At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why do You speak with her?” 28 So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and *said to the men,29 “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done;this is not the Christ, is it?” 30 They went out of the city, and were coming to Him.

31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples were saying to one another, “No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?” 34 Jesus *said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. 36 Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.37 For in this case the saying is true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor.”

39 From that city many of the [Muslims] believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” 40 So when the [people of Saudi Arabia] came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 Many more believed because of His word; 42 and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation


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