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The Woman at the Well

I love these stories of individuals who engaged Jesus with a certain level of pluck, intelligence, or sophistication. I think Jesus must have appreciated these encounters, too, since he so often got nothing but bland cluelessness from his own disciples. Whether the Samaritan woman at the well falls into the former or latter category can be debated – her words can be read either way, in my opinion – but whenever there’s any doubt about the answer, I’m going to err on the side of making these characters as interesting as I can, partly to make better plays and partly because of a desire to see the mind of Jesus at play with other worthy intelligences.

The other noteworthy aspect of this story to me is the odd insistence by the people of the city, when the happy ending’s been achieved and everybody ought to be in a good mood, that the woman didn’t have all that much to do with their salvation, after all. This suggests to me that they held her in contempt – possibly because of her sexual history? – and that she was therefore an outcast even among her fellow Samaritans who were, in turn, held in contempt by the Israelis.

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