Who were the 5 husbands of the woman at the well
Whosoever drinketh of this water, shall thirst again; but he that shall drink of the water that I will give him, shall not thirst for ever: But the water that I will give him, shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting. The woman saith to him: Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come hither to draw. He is not speaking about H2O. He is clearly referring to something else; something like the waters of Baptism. Or perhaps he is referring to the gift of faith itself under the figure of water. It is through Faith that the believer springs up to life everlasting.
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Clueless preaching about the Samaritan woman misses the point
When Jesus speaks with the Samaritan woman in John , is the passage about her husbands literal, or symbolic of the five different tribes that were settled in her town? The Samaritan woman, unlike other individuals who speak with Jesus in the Gospel of John, is never named. Some interpreters have taken this anonymity as an invitation to view her as an abstraction, a symbol of Samaria itself. If she is a symbol, the thinking goes, then surely her five husbands could represent the five locations in Samaria that settlers are supposed to have been brought according to 2Kings This approach treats the Samaritan woman as a mere allegory.
This view gains traction when we look at the heavy symbolism in the story. Readers of the Jewish or, for that matter, the Samaritan scriptures would know that when a man and a woman meet at a well, a wedding usually follows. And this well is not just any well; it is the same well where Jacob met his first wife Rachel in Gen In John 4 , the Samaritan woman asks whether Jesus is greater than Jacob, an obvious wink to the earlier story.
We are told that the woman has previously had five husbands, and that the man whom she now has is not her husband. Unless Samaritan law was very different from Jewish law, and their culture likewise radically different, there is no possibility that this meant that the woman had divorced five men.
Women could not initiate divorce in Judaism , and in this patriarchal cultural context, a woman who divorced a couple of husbands would not be likely to be taken as the wife of yet another. Are we to imagine either that several husbands have divorced the woman, or more plausibly, that the woman has been widowed multiple times? An even closer parallel to John 4 is in the Book of Tobit Tobit , where a woman named Sara loses seven husbands to a demon on each wedding night.
The story suggests that a serial widow may struggle to remarry—a man might fear that some curse or demon was associated with her, and that his own life would be at risk if they wed. Such beliefs would of course leave the woman in a more vulnerable position, though she might still become a concubine.
It must be pointed out as well that neither divorce, remarriage, nor concubinage were considered immoral in this time period, and so the widespread slandering of the Samaritan woman from the story, so popular in sermons, is inappropriate. The story of the Samaritan woman is indeed symbolic: Jesus is the bridegroom an image used in John 3 , the one who is greater than Jacob, who will gather a people to worship and transcend the distinctions that have kept Jews and Samaritans at odds for centuries.
But the Samaritan woman is a serious character in her own right. Tragically, she has lost multiple husbands.
James F. McGrath, "Woman at the Well", n. McGrath Professor, Butler University. Allegorical interpretation of the Jewish Bible in Alexandria has its roots in Greek interpretations of the Iliad and the Odyssey as a strategy for making the ancient text speak to ever-changing cultural concerns and for resolving perceived conflicts in the text. Philo, Clement, and Origen are the founders of the tradition of allegorical reading of the Bible that developed in Alexandria between the first and the third centuries C.
With their focus on Mount Gerizim as sole sanctuary and their priestly religious life, the Samaritans are a fascinating branch of Israelite tradition, alongside Jerusalemite Judaism. In addition to being sources of water for drinking and agriculture, wells were also social hotspots. A mode of writing, reading, or interpreting that operates on a symbolic, rather than literal, level. Supernatural, spiritual beings that appear in the traditions of many cultures.
In the Hebew Bible, demons are often fallen angels; the New Testament makes mention of demon possession, where a demon inhabits a human body. The religion and culture of Jews. View more. Jacob Meets Rachel 1Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the people of the east. It was about noon. Water the sheep, and go, pasture them. Judah and Tamar 1It happened at that time that Judah went down from his brothers and settled near a certain Adullamite whose name was Hirah.
Levirate Marriage 5When brothers reside together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a str Site HarperCollins Dictionary. Ask a Scholar Home Woman at the Well.
Add this:. Ask a Scholar. Related Articles 5 Alexandria and Allegory Allegorical interpretation of the Jewish Bible in Alexandria has its roots in Greek interpretations of the Iliad and the Odyssey as a strategy for making the ancient text speak to ever-changing cultural concerns and for resolving perceived conflicts in the text.
Philo, Clement, and Origen Philo, Clement, and Origen are the founders of the tradition of allegorical reading of the Bible that developed in Alexandria between the first and the third centuries C. The Samaritans With their focus on Mount Gerizim as sole sanctuary and their priestly religious life, the Samaritans are a fascinating branch of Israelite tradition, alongside Jerusalemite Judaism.
Women and Wells in the Hebrew Bible In addition to being sources of water for drinking and agriculture, wells were also social hotspots. A gospel is an account that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. People who study a text from historical, literary, theological and other angles.
A social hierarchy based on men and paternity. Gen 29 Jacob Meets Rachel 1Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the people of the east. John 6Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well.
Gen 38 Judah and Tamar 1It happened at that time that Judah went down from his brothers and settled near a certain Adullamite whose name was Hirah. Deut Levirate Marriage 5When brothers reside together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a str Browse by subject - click on a letter below. Home People Places Passages Bibles. Presented by:. Bible Odyssey has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The Woman at the Well and Her Husbands
For four decades I've believed, and even taught, that the Samaritan woman in John 4 was an immoral degenerate woman. Because Jesus reveals her history with men in John She has had five husbands and she is not married to the man she is with now.
It was at Shechem, many years prior to this event, that the nation of Israel renewed its covenant with God, committing to worship Him exclusively Joshua This article looks at the link that exists between these two events, and its application for us today. Yahshua initiated the exchange between Himself and the woman by asking the woman for a drink John As no one can come to the Father unless He draws him John , we see Yahshua drawing the woman to Himself. Though it was Yahshua who asked the woman for a drink it is the woman who is thirsty John
Samaritan woman at the well
F lorence came to my house twice a week, selling vegetables. She carried on her back a bag weighing nearly 40 pounds. With its strap across her forehead and the load on her back, she hunched along dirt roads about two hours each way to the cluster of houses where my husband and I lived in Kijabe, Kenya. One day, as Florence rested with me on my porch, we began to chat about her life. She told me her husband had died when her children were young. It was important that she remarry, she said, so her children could have a father figure. Florence smiled, confessing that at first she disliked the idea. But then she saw the wisdom of their choice. I later met him, a wonderful, wizened man—mostly blind and deaf, but dignified. Florence cared for her elderly husband, and the marriage gave her stability and self-respect.
Why Did The Samaritan Woman At The Well Have So Many Marriages?
For you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband: in that said you truly. Genesis But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife. Genesis ,7,8,31 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her…. Numbers This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled;. New International Version The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.
There is a shorter Lectionary option, but reading the full narrative of the woman at the well is crucial to understanding her significance. She is an open, engaged recruiter of disciples in Christ, and she is a model for women preachers. Many of the Samaritans began to believe because of the word of the woman. Jn
Revisiting the Woman at the Well
The Samaritan woman at the well is a figure from the Gospel of John , in John — The woman appears in John 4 :4—42, However below is John — But he had to go through Samaria.
Was the woman at the well a “bad girl?”
When Jesus was traveling from Judea to Galilee, he took an unusual route. He went through Samaria. Samaritans and Jews were not on friendly terms and most Jews tried to avoid that route. The Samaritan woman is surprised at his request because Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans. How else would Jesus know about her checkered past? Why would the Samaritan woman suddenly change subjects from marriage to the nature of true worship?
There are positive and negative aspects to visualizing the stories of the Bible as you read. Often, I will have a running movie in my head as I read, and it makes for an immersive encounter with the text. On the flip side, sometimes my assumptions about the characters are way off and reveal an unhealthy bias.
In the gospel of John, Jesus a Galilean engages in a most unusual conversation with a Samaritan woman at a well. It was about the sixth hour. What kind of connection? Please allow me to explain.
Jump to navigation. We used the reading from Year A since we have six people entering the church. Other parishes may have used the Year C Gospel, Luke