Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Day 20: The Woman's Testimony

Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.”
-John 4:39

 I find so much grace in Jesus' interactions with women in the Scriptures.  In a culture where women were viewed as property, Jesus consistently took the opportunity to speak to them and cement their place in His kingdom.  The Samaritan woman is no different, and she can be seen as an even more extreme example of Jesus' love for all people.  Not only was the Samaritan woman a female, but she was also a Samaritan.  Many Jews held prejudicial views towards Samaritans, so I'm sure when the disciples came back to the well near Samaria, they were doubly surprised to see Jesus speaking with her.

After her interaction with Jesus, in which he discloses his identity as the Messiah, the woman returns to Samaria with a simple testimony declaring Jesus as the Christ, and many believe because of her story.

In some traditions of the Church, a few things could be learned from this interaction, the first being that Jesus didn't see the woman as a second-class citizen.  He chose to speak to her, and He also chose to reveal Himself as the Messiah-something his disciples were still struggling to understand.

Second, Jesus allowed her to testify to the entire town, and I'm sure both men and women were included in that category.  Jesus didn't ask her to stay silent.  Women in the church should be encouraged by this example and find creative ways to testify of Jesus' work in their lives to anyone who will listen.

Finally, we need to remember that the Gospel story in the New Testament begins with a woman and ends at the Resurrection with women.  Women were the first to see and proclaim the risen Christ.  What other proof do we need of Christ asking both genders to be witnesses and mouthpieces for the Gospel?

The Church could learn much from these stories of Jesus' love and affirmation of women as partners in His Kingdom.  We are not meant to be silent members of the body.  We are "all one in Christ Jesus," and women should be acknowledged as such in our testimony and walk with Christ.

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