Today's lesson (John 4:5-42) of Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well is usually cast by modern preachers as a beautiful example of radical hospitality. I find that rather curious since there are some aspects of the story that feminists and revisionists alike should find troublesome.
Let's look at the story as if it happened today,
Jesus: "Give me a drink."And perhaps the most potentially irritating part of the story,
Modern woman: "Get your own d*@! water."
Jesus: "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life."
Modern woman: "So now my water is not good enough for you."
Jesus: "You have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband."
Modern woman: "What I do in the privacy of my bedroom is my own business. Besides, this is the twenty first century if you haven't noticed, and I can sleep with as many men as I want to."
Jesus: "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem."
Modern woman: "Enough with the masculine imagery for God already. Jeez Louise, haven't you ever heard of God the Mother?"
Modern woman: "Oh, and don't try that line on me that you are God's gift to women."
Jesus: "I am he."
People: "It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves."All joking aside, Jesus' encounter with the woman and the men of the Samaritan city is an important reminder that the Gospel is to be spread to those who do not believe in God, and to even target those who are happily settled into a life of sexual immorality. The Gospel has the power to change us both as individuals and as a society by first exposing our sinfulness, and then by offering us that living water by which we may be cleansed of our sins.
Modern woman: " I am sick and tired of being treated as a second class citizen around here. People still think of me as just another pretty face when I am a serious news reporter!"
That would present an offer of "radical change" and not "radical hospitality" to someone who does not believe in traditional marriage.
Maybe we should discuss same sex marriage, bisexual relationships, polyamory, polygamy, and adultery all in the context of how belief in Jesus leads people to leave what they are doing and to come and learn at His feet, and how by studying His word as passed on to us by the Apostles, we will find that we are called to love Him as well as to follow His commandments, and that just might require us to change, or to sacrifice something that we feel is very important.
Give it up people!