Reclaiming Authentic Identity and Women’s Witness

We live in a world where truth is frequently distorted and lost; women are especially vulnerable to false perceptions of who they are, how they should act, and what they can do.  The narrative of the Samaritan woman (John 4:1-42, NRSV) reveals the importance of truth and revelation in recognising and living out authentic identity.  The story invites women to develop their relationship with Jesus and to testify (in word and deed) to the truths revealed through that relationship. 

Being female is tough; women are bombarded with false perceptions of what an ‘ideal’ woman should look like, think like, and act like.  These untruths are often difficult to quantify; however, they are identifiable both in their presence and in their effects.  For example, modern Australian women are objectified; they are reduced to body parts or sexual functionality.[1]  Objectification is found in exercise trends, where looking fit and conforming to an ‘ideal’ body shape is idolised.[2]  It’s found in social media, where selfie self-objectification promotes disordered thinking and behaviour, such as mental illness and eating disorders.[3]  It is found advertising trends, where sexualised images are used to sell products and create unrealistic beauty standards.[4]  It’s found in everyday interactions, where sexualised behaviour (such as sexting) is normalised.[5]  It’s found in pornography, where extreme sexual objectification distorts healthy interpersonal relationships.[6]  Objectification changes how women value themselves and are valued by others; worth is based on desirability, not on intrinsic dignity and individuality.[7] 

Women are not just objectified but also stereotyped, marginalised, and discriminated against; women are undervalued, overlooked, and abused because of their gender.[8]  Women experience financial inequality; on average, women are paid 15.7% less than men per week.[9]  Women experience exclusion from leadership roles and positions of influence; only 29.7% of women hold key management positions in the Australia.[10]  Women experience unconscious omission and bias; it was only from the early 2010’s that female crash test dummies were used in car safety testing.[11]  Women experience self-doubt; women are less to apply for jobs compared to men, even when they are equally as qualified.[12] Women experience silence and disbelief on issues directly concerning them; women’s testimony is not considered sufficiently reliable in sexual harassment trials.[13]  Women encounter sexism and chauvinism; the portrayal of Julia Gillard in the media, especially after her misogyny speech, is a high-profile example of this.[14]  Women experience violence in many forms; in Australia, 1 in 6 women (over 15 years old) have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current / previous partner, 1 in 4 have experienced emotional abuse by a current / previous partner, 1 in 5 women have been sexually assaulted and/or threatened, and 1 in 2 have been sexually harassed.[15]  Furthermore, women experience multi-level discrimination when otherness is combined with gender; women with observable markers of difference, such as Islamic women wearing a hijab or refugee / migrant women with accents and ethnic appearances, are faced with barriers to employment and inclusion in Australia society.[16]  How a woman is treated is closely linked to perceptions of her identity; any distortions can easily lead to mistreatment, exploitation, and abuse. 

This distorted perception of women poses the question: ‘what can be done to reveal the truth about women, both to women themselves and to humanity?’.  Recognition of authentic identity, and therefore intrinsic worth, is the beginning of addressing the suffering experienced by women and of reclaiming the truth about women’s value and purpose in society.  Scripture is a good place to start when searching for truth; it’s a way to connect the divine truth with human reality.  The story of the Samaritan woman (John 4:1-42) is a key story about truth, identity, purpose, and mission for women.  Examining the narrative and its interpretations provides insight into the challenges women face in discovering and recovering their authentic identities. 

The Samaritan woman is the third most written about woman in the New Testament, behind only Mary (Mother of Jesus) and Mary Magdalene.[17]  What is written, however, is frequently an unfavourable commentary on the Samaritan woman’s character and role; the woman is often dismissed as a sexual sinner and ignorant tool used by Jesus to teach the disciples.[18]  It’s only recently that alternate interpretations of the text have emerged; interpretations which explore the narrative and feminist implications of the story.[19]  Finally the truth of Samaritan woman can be revealed. 

The story’s place within the overall narrative structure of the Gospel is significant; the placement discloses the author’s intention and themes in writing the text.[20]  The story of the Samaritan woman is located at the beginning of John’s Gospel, known as the ‘Book of Signs’ (John 1:19-12:50), a narrative section filled with signs (symbols, miracles) designed to reveal Jesus’s divine identity and his mission to make the Father known.[21]  Specifically it is located in the ‘Cana to Cana’ section of the narrative, where discussion of discipleship and faith is framed by the two miracles at Cana (John 2:1-11 and 4:46-54).[22]  Lastly, the Samaritan woman’s tale acts as a direct contrast, both in content and imagery, to the story of Nicodemus (John 2:23-3:21); it contrasts the continuing misunderstanding of Nicodemus with the woman’s enlightened witness.[23]  The story’s place establishes that the story’s themes are revealing Jesus’ identity (and mission), and the responses to that revelation (discipleship or disbelief) from different people. 

The setting of John 4:1-42 reinforces these themes and emphasises the story’s focus on the Samaritan people’s encounter with and response to Jesus.  The geographical markers indicate a journey between Judea and Galilee via Samaria (John 4:3-5).  This route is an unusual choice; the hostilities between Jews and Samaritans over religious purity and ancient worship practices usually prompting Jewish travellers to take a more circumspect path.[24]  The necessity to go to Samaria (John 4:4) is therefore theological; the early Johannine community, whom the text was written for, were struggling with identity (deciding who was part of the community and in what capacity) and a story about Samaritan inclusion was vital.[25] 

The geographical and physical setting of the story at Sychar and Jacob’s well (John 4:5-6) provides a socio-culturally significant place for Jesus and the Samaritan woman to meet; it emphasises that the discussion is centred on Samarian-Jewish relations.[26]  The discussion reveals that Jesus wants to start the relationship with the Samarians; it’s the only time Jesus initiates an encounter.[27]  It reveals Jesus’ inclusive nature; when necessary Jesus breaks socio-cultural and religious taboos, such as talking with a Samaritan woman alone or sharing a water jar with the Samaritans (John 4:9).[28]  It reveals that Jesus is greater than Jacob (the Samaritan’s patriarchal ancestor) is, as Jesus can offer “living” water (John 4:12-15).[29]  It reveals that worship is not centred in a place, like the Samaritan holy mountain or the Jewish temple in Jerusalem (John 4:20), but in looking towards God in “spirit and truth” (John 4:20-24).[30]  The setting creates a space to reveal who Jesus is and the nature of his relationship with the Samaritan people. 

The well setting is also acts a literary marker for a betrothal-type story; the audience is set up to expect that a covenant promise will be made, similar to Jacob’s betrothal to Rachel (Gen 29:1-30).[31]  In this Gospel story, Jesus acts as the bridegroom to the Samaritan people through the Samaritan woman; it echoes the bridegroom imagery of the Cana wedding miracle story (John 2:1-11).[32]  The woman’s representation of the Samaritan people is suggested her initial identification using her national identity and by the use of plural pronouns in the text; “gave us”, “our ancestor” and “we worship” (John 4:12, 20, 22).[33]  Furthermore, the marital imagery throughout the story emphasises the new covenant relationship between Jesus and the Samaritans.[34]  The betrothal promise is found in the offer and acceptance of living water, the promise of life together forever; the marriage is found in the relationship between Jesus and the woman that slowly reveals identity and leads to worshipping God; and the fruitfulness is found in the woman’s witness and sower/reaper/harvest imagery that represents the Samaritan people’s ripening faith.[35]  The ultimate fruit of the betrothal / marriage is the recognition of Jesus’ identity as “Saviour of the World” (John 4:42), a title representing the universality of Jesus’ inclusiveness.[36] 

The Samaritan woman’s role as a representation of her people doesn’t diminish her individual value; it enhances it.  The dialogue between the Samaritan woman and Jesus is the longest exchange between Jesus and another person in the Gospels; it allows the different facets of the woman’s character to be revealed.[37]  During the story, woman’s identity progresses from “Samaritan woman” (John 4:9) to “Woman” (a Johannine title of respect) (John 4:21) to ‘truth teller’ (John 4:18) to ‘questioning worshipper seeking guidance’ (John 4:19-26) to ‘testimony giver’ (John 4:28-29) to a metaphorical “field ripe for harvesting” (John 4:35) to ‘sower’ (John 4:39, 42).[38]  The woman is revealed in her complexity and uniqueness; an individual who is identified by her relationship with Jesus.  This co-revelation is reflected in the parallel movement of Jesus’ identity from “Jew” (John 4:9) to “Sir” (John 4:11,15,19) to “prophet” (John 4:19) to possible “Messiah” (John 4:25, 29) to “I am He” (John 4:26) (the ultimate self-revelation of divine identity, Exod 3:14).[39]  Furthermore, the Samaritan woman’s active role is central to her characterisation; her ultimate response to Jesus is testimony in word and deed (John 4:28-29).  The woman’s proactive approach is contrasted with the disciples, who remain silent and stuck in misunderstanding (John 4:27, 33) and with Nicodemus, who comes with questions but quickly fades into the background and inaction (John 3:4, 9-10).[40]  The woman acts as a model disciple / apostle; someone who reveals Jesus to others and brings them to faith through that revelation. 

This positive portrait of the Samaritan woman is sadly a minority interpretation; many commentaries present the Samaritan woman in a negative and often dismissive way.  Just like contemporary Australia women, the Samaritan woman suffers from distorted perceptions of identity that change how she is treated. 

Perception is based on the context, outlook, and expectations of the perceiver; words are open to interpretation without additional visual, behavioural or background clues.[41]  The interpretation of noon in the Samaritan woman’s story is a good example.  Some commentators use this temporal setting to emphasise the Samaritan woman’s sinful past; noon is seen as an unusual time to collect water and therefore as a sign of her exclusion from normal community life.[42]  Other possibilities for visiting the well at noon exist.[43]  Additionally, there are intertextual clues suggesting an alternate explanation of the noon setting; noon is the lightest part of the day and as light is a Christological symbol in the Gospel (John 1:4-9, 3:19-21), it could signify Jesus’ revelatory power.[44]  Furthermore, the enlightenment and openness of the Samaritan woman at noon is presented in contrast to the darkness (night) and misunderstanding of Nicodemus (John 3:2, 3:9-10).[45]  Since symbolism and contrast are common rhetorical devices used in John’s Gospel to emphasise points of importance, the narrative explanation of noon could be a more accurate interpretation of the author’s intention. 

The negative emphasis on the woman’s sexual behaviour arises from John 4:16-19; commentators focus on the five husbands and living with an unknown man as a sign of infidelity or promiscuousness in the woman.[46]  However, these interpretations seem to distort the truth of the narrative; they take a section out of context and use it create a false perception of the woman.[47]  Based on the textual themes (Samaritan inclusion) and the symbolism of the woman as a representation of the Samaritan people, then the husbands are likely also to be symbolic representations; Samaria was colonised five times and then was under occupation by Rome.[48]  The emphasis on sexual sin misrepresents the situation; Jesus demonstrates no interest in the unusual personal circumstances, but instead focusses on the woman’s truthfulness (John 4:18).[49]  Truth and revelation are themes of the text; the narrator uses the opportunity to reveal something about Jesus’ identity, Jesus is a prophet (John 4:19).[50]  Furthermore, some commentators combine the woman’s personal history with the betrothal-type scene to negatively portray the woman as harlot and to argue the theme is the redemption of a sinful woman and thus a sinful Samaritan people.[51]  This judgemental and distorted interpretation arises because no clues are given to the woman’s physical appearance (age, dress) and her expression (tone, posture); interpreters infer the innuendo and flirtatiousness.[52]  In this light, the Samaritan woman is seen to be sexually objectified. 

The Samaritan woman is further mistreated when commentators underestimate her intellect and dismiss her faith; the woman’s misunderstanding of Jesus’ words and the speculative expression of her faith in John 4:29 are used to diminish the woman’s role in revealing Jesus’s identity and bringing the Samaritan people to faith.[53]  The narrative uses misunderstanding (irony) as a tool to reveal truth; the woman needs to grow in her comprehension in order for Jesus’ identity and mission to be gradually revealed.[54]  The content of the woman’s dialogical responses draw out important religious and theological points, such as how Jews and Samaritans interact and where to worship.[55]  The symbolism of the woman leaving her water jar (John 4:28) suggests that, like the apostles leaving their nets, the woman is beginning her discipleship / apostleship.[56]  Furthermore, the strength of the woman’s faith doesn’t diminish her impact; even if tentative and questioning, the woman’s testimony and witness brought others to “come and see” Jesus (John 4:29-30).[57]  By evangelising others, the woman perhaps comes to full faith; revelation is on-going, and the impact of truth is divinely transcendent.[58] 

The story of the Samaritan woman reveals truths that are relevant for today’s world.  Firstly, no one is exempt from distorted perceptions of identity and from mistreatment because of them; however, the truth can be recovered.  Like the Samaritan woman, modern women can discover and recover their identity through a relationship with Jesus.  Secondly, striving for understanding is important; question, challenge, inquire, and protest.  Thirdly, testifying to the truth in word and deed is powerful; witnessing can bring about change, both in perceptions and actions.  Finally, Jesus is the Saviour of the world; the invitation to relationship with Jesus is open to all. 

The story of the Samaritan woman also reveals ways to look to the future with these truths.  In seeking to authentic identity, women are invited to firstly examine their own distorted perceptions of themselves and others.  Women are invited seek divine truth through a relationship with Jesus; this could be prayer, theological reflection, spiritual guidance, or whatever means necessary to prompt questioning, rethinking, listening, and being open to where the ‘spirit of truth’ leads.  Women must turn inwards to discover their own authentic identity before they turn outwards to discover the authentic identity of others.  

Women are invited to witness to the truths they discover.  Women are encouraged to challenge stereotypes and prejudices, raise awareness of mistreatment, and offer alternate viewpoints; this could be at the Plenary Council 2020, within parish communities, or with friends and family.  Women can start in small ways, with people they know; the Samaritan woman went to her own community to share her testimony.  Women can also try witnessing the wider community; in what they say, in how they act, and in who they include.  Authentic witness is sharing experiences and building relationships; it’s in getting to know others that truth is revealed.  

Objectification and distorted perceptions about women are not going to disappear quickly; women have the choice to testify to the situation, to raise awareness, and to become changemakers.  Women of this generation can sow what women of another generation will reap.  Women can inspire, empower, and lead change, starting with themselves and then reaching towards others.  By being and acting as their authentic selves, women can witness to the value of inherent dignity and self-worth based on truth. 

[1] Steve Loughnan et al., “Exploring the Role of Culture in Sexual Objectification: A Seven Nations Study,” Revue Internationale de Psychologie Sociale 28 (2015): 125.

[2] Ivanka Prichard et al., “The Impact of Different Forms of #fitspiration Imagery on Body Image, Mood, and Self-Objectification among Young Women,” Sex Roles 78, no. 11 (2018).

[3] Rachel Cohen, Toby Newton-John, and Amy Slater, “‘Selfie’-Objectification: The Role of Selfies in Self-Objectification and Disordered Eating in Young Women,” Computers in Human Behavior 79 (2018).

[4] Melissa McDonald, “Getting Out of the Kitchen and into the Bedroom: The Objectification of Women in Advertising Through the Use of Design Elements. Exploring the Perception of Sexual Imagery and Objectification in Advertising Amongst Graphic Design Undergraduates” (Iowa State University, 2014). 

[5] Jennifer A. Jewell and Christia Spears Brown, “Sexting, Catcalls, and Butt Slaps: How Gender Stereotypes and Perceived Group Norms Predict Sexualized Behavior,” Sex Roles 69, no. 11 (2013); Allyson L. Dir, “Effects of Sexting on Perceptions of Sexual Intent, Sexual Consent, and Responsibility in Sexual Encounters” (PhD, Purdue University, 2017). 

[6] Raquel Kennedy Bergen and Kathleen A Bogle, “Exploring the Connection between Pornography and Sexual Violence,” Violence and Victims 15, no. 3 (2000); Maree Crabbe and David Corlett, “Eroticising Inequality: Technology, Pornography and Young People,” Redress 20, no. 11 (2011); Rae Langton, “Autonomy‐Denial in Objectification,” in Sexual Solipsism: Philosophical Essays on Pornography and Objectification (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009); Rob Rhea and Rick Langer, “A Theology of the Body for a Pornographic Age,” Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care 8, no. 1 (2015). 

[7] Peter Strelan and Stephenie Pagoudis, “Birds of a Feather Flock Together: The Interpersonal Process of Objectification within Intimate Heterosexual Relationships,” Sex Roles 79, no. 1 (2018); Women’s Health Victoria, “Growing Up Unequal,” (Women’s Health Victoria, 2017).

[8] Australian Human Rights Commission, “Face the Facts: Gender Inequality,” ed. Australian Human Rights Commission (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2018).

[9] Australian Human Rights Commission, “Face the Facts: Gender Inequality.”

[10] Australian Government Workplace Gender Equality Agency, “Gender Workplace Statistics at a Glance,” (2018), 1; Wanda Denise Carr, “What are the Underlying Issues Contributing to the Success and Failure of Women in Leadership and Management Roles? Stereotyping and Gender Bias” (Argosy University/Phoenix, 2012); Mary Hogue, “Gender Bias in Communal Leadership: Examining Servant Leadership,” Journal of Managerial Psychology 31, no. 4 (2016); Susan R. Madsen and Maureen S. Andrade, “Unconscious Gender Bias: Implications for Women’s Leadership Development,” Journal of Leadership Studies 12, no. 1 (2018). 

[11] Anna Carlsson, “Addressing Female Whiplash Injury Protection: A Step Towards 50th Percentile Female Rear Impact Occupant Models ” (Chalmers University of Technology, 2012); Dipan Bose, Maria Segui-Gomez, and Jeff R. Crandall, “Vulnerability of Female Drivers Involved in Motor Vehicle Crashes: An Analysis of US Population at Risk,” American Journal of Public Health 101, no. 12 (2011); Heisook Lee, “Why Science is Gender-Biased – and What We Can Do About It: Speakers at Gender Summit Asia Pacific Show How Including Women as Research Subjects Can Result in Better, Safer Products,” (Elsevier, 2015). 

[12] Tara Sophia Mohr, “Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs Unless They’re 100% Qualified,” Harvard Business Review 08 (2014).  

[13] Women are at the bottom of credibility hierarchy.  Deb Tyler and Patricia Easteal, “The Credibility Gap,” Alternative Law Journal 23, no. 5 (1998): 211,15. 

[14] Marian Woodward, “Ditch the Witch: Julia Gillard and Gender in Australian Public Discourse” (Honours, University of Sydney, 2013); Anna Worth, Martha Augoustinos, and Brianne Hastie, ““Playing the Gender Card”: Media Representations of Julia Gillard’s Sexism and Misogyny Speech,” Feminism & Psychology 26, no. 1 (2015). 

[15] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, “Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence in Australia,” ed. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018), ix. 

[16] Kevin M. Dunn, Natascha Klocker, and Tanya Salabay, “Contemporary Racism and Islamaphobia in Australia: Racializing Religion,” Ethnicities 7, no. 4 (2007); Jawad Syed and Edwina Pio, “Veiled Diversity? Workplace Experiences of Muslim Women in Australia,” Asia Pacific Journal of Management 27, no. 1 (2010); Christina Ho, “Diversifying Feminism: Migrant Women’s Activism in Australia,” Signs 33, no. 4 (2008); Eileen Pittaway and Linda Bartolomei, “Refugees, Race, and Gender: The Multiple Discrimination against Refugee Women,” Refuge 19, no. 6 (2001).  

[17] María José Delgado, “The Samaritan Woman and the Jew Jesus,” L’Osservatore Romano  (2017). 

[18] Frances Taylor Gench, Encounters with Jesus: Studies in the Gospel of John (Louisville: Westminister John Knox Press, 2007), 30. 

[19] Walter J. Harrelson, ed. The New Interpreter’s Study Bible, New Revised Standand Version with the Apocrypha ed. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2003), 1914-15; Sandra M. Schneiders, Written That You May Believe, Encountering Jesus in the Fourth Gospel (New York: Herder&Herder, 1999); Gench, Encounters with Jesus

[20] Schneiders, Written That You May Believe, 144.

[21] Raymond E. Brown, An Introduction to the Gospel of John (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 80,300; Donald Senior, John J. Collins, and Mary Ann Getty, eds., The Catholic Study Bible, New American Bible Revised Third Edition ed. (USA: Oxford University Press, 2016), 1486. 

[22] Brown, An Introduction to the Gospel of John, 301. 

[23] Gench, Encounters with Jesus, 32; Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of John, ed. Daniel J. Harrington, Sacra Pagina (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2016), 130. 

[24] Raymond E. Brown, The Gospel and Epistles of John: A Concise Commentary (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1988), 36; Harrelson, The New Interpreter’s Study Bible, 1914; Gench, Encounters with Jesus, 31; Senior, Collins, and Getty, The Catholic Study Bible, 1494; Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch, eds., The New Testament (RSV), Second Catholic Edition ed., The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 168; Harold Attridge, ed. The HarperCollins Study Bible: Fully Revised and Updated, New Revised Standard Version ed. (USA: Harper One, 2006), 1821. 

[25] Moloney, The Gospel of John, 116; Senior, Collins, and Getty, The Catholic Study Bible, 1494; Hahn and Mitch, The New Testament (RSV), 168.  There are suggestions this story might not be historical but instead a construction aimed at addressing Samaritan inclusion in the Johannine community.  Gench, Encounters with Jesus, 31; Schneiders, Written That You May Believe, 143.  

[26] Kathy McEvoy, “Moments of Grace: The Heart of Leadership,” Australasian Catholic Record 87, no. 4 (2010): 426. 

[27] Peter C. Phan, “An Interfaith Encounter at Jacob’s Well: A Missiological Interpretation of John 4:4‐42,” Mission Studies 27, no. 2 (2010): 172.

[28] Moloney, The Gospel of John, 117.

[29] Brown, The Gospel and Epistles of John, 37.  Jesus is implied to be greater than Abraham too (John 8:53).  Jerome H. Neyrey, “Jacob Traditions and the Interpretation of John 4:10-26,” The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 41, no. 3 (1979): 420. 

[30] Michael D. Coogan, ed. The New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha, Fully Revised Fifth Edition ed. (USA: Oxford University Press, 2018), 1926.  This is Mount Gerizim, a Samaritan temple destroyed by the Jewish high priest about 100 BC.  Brown, The Gospel and Epistles of John, 36.

[31] Jacob’s betrothal is significant to the Samaritan people, as the other patriarch’s betrothals: Isaac and Rebekah (Gen 24:10-67) and Moses and Zipporah (Exod 2:1-21).  Gench, Encounters with Jesus, 32; Andrew T. Lincoln, Black’s New Testament Commentary: The Gospel According to John, ed. Morna D. Hooker, Black’s New Testament Commentaries (USA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2005), 170. 

[32] Gench, Encounters with Jesus, 33; Neyrey, “Jacob Traditions,” 426; Schneiders, Written That You May Believe, 139; Christopher W. Skinner, ed. Characters and Characterization in the Gospel of John, 1 ed., Library of New Testament Studies (London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2013), 185.  The Samaritan people themselves represent all the peoples beyond Israel.  Moloney, The Gospel of John

[33] Jean K Kim, “A Korean Feminist Reading of John 4:1-42,” Semeia 178 (1997): 114; Gench, Encounters with Jesus, 31; Schneiders, Written That You May Believe, 137.  “The woman represents her people, prefiguring and at the same time personalising their rise to faith”.  Dorothy A. Lee, The Symbolic Narratives of the Fourth Gospel: The Interplay of Form and Meaning, Journal for the Study of the New Testment Supplement Series (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1994), 91.

[34] Skinner, Characters and Characterization in the Gospel of John, 194.  Some commentaries see the well / betrothal imagery as a euphemism; it’s another example of unnecessary sexualisation.  Lincoln, Black’s New Testament Commentary, 174. 

[35] McEvoy, “Moments of Grace,” p 427. 

[36] “Saviour of the world” is independent on the Jewish or Samaritan Messianic belief.  Kim, “A Korean Feminist Reading,” 114; Harrelson, The New Interpreter’s Study Bible, 1915.

[37] Gench, Encounters with Jesus, 30. 

[38] The other Woman references are Jesus’ mother (John 2:1, 19:26-27) and Mary Magdalene (John 20:15).  Phan, “An Interfaith Encounter at Jacob’s Well,” 164. 

[39] John uses ‘I am’ statements to reveal Jesus’ identity.  Harrelson, The New Interpreter’s Study Bible, 1915; Lincoln, Black’s New Testament Commentary, 178.

[40] Gench, Encounters with Jesus, 32; Lincoln, Black’s New Testament Commentary, 179. 

[41] Harold W. Attridge, “The Samaritan Woman: A Woman Transformed,” in Character Studies in the Fourth Gospel: Narrative Approaches to Seventy Figures in John, ed. Steven A. Hunt, D. Francois Tolmie, and Ruben Zimmermann (Grand Rapids, MI: Mohr Siebeck, 2013), 269,74.

[42] Carol A. Newsom, Sharon H. Ringe, and Jacqueline E. Lapsley, eds., Women’s Commentary Bible: Revised and Updated (Twentieth Anniversary Edition) (NRSV), Third ed. (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminister John Knox Press, 2012), 521.

[43] Attridge, “The Samaritan Woman: A Woman Transformed,” 272. 

[44] McEvoy, “Moments of Grace,” 426. 

[45] Gench, Encounters with Jesus, 32; Coogan, The New Oxford Annotated Bible, 1926. 

[46] Gench, Encounters with Jesus, 34; Cornelius A Lapide, S John’s Gospel – Chaps 1 to 11, Third Edition ed., The Great Commentary of Cornelius A Lapide (Edinburgh: John Grant, 1908), 141; Joseph Ponessa and Laurie Watson Manhardt, The Gospel of John, 2 ed., Come and See: Catholic Bible Study (RSV) (USA: Emmaus Road Publishing, 2004), 39; Newsom, Ringe, and Lapsley, Women’s Commentary Bible, 521. 

[47] Coogan, The New Oxford Annotated Bible, 1926.

[48] Gench, Encounters with Jesus, 33; Schneiders, Written That You May Believe, 139.  Other interpretations linking the five husbands to the Samaritan Pentateuch, five Samarian Gods (2 Kgs 17:24, or the five nation Samarian origin story have been explored and discredited for various reasons.  Neyrey, “Jacob Traditions,” 426; Attridge, “The Samaritan Woman: A Woman Transformed,” 276.

[49] Harrelson, The New Interpreter’s Study Bible, 1914. 

[50] Harrelson, The New Interpreter’s Study Bible, 1914; Gench, Encounters with Jesus, 34; Schneiders, Written That You May Believe, 140. 

[51] A Lapide, S John’s Gospel – Chaps 1 to 11, 133; Ponessa and Manhardt, The Gospel of John, 39.  

[52] Attridge, “The Samaritan Woman: A Woman Transformed,” 272. 

[53] Brown, The Gospel and Epistles of John, 36; Gench, Encounters with Jesus, 32; Moloney, The Gospel of John, 118; Sandra M. Schneiders, The Revelatory Text: Interpreting the New Testament as Sacred Scripture, Second Edition ed. (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1999), 250.

[54] Brown, The Gospel and Epistles of John, 36; Kim, “A Korean Feminist Reading,” 111; Phan, “An Interfaith Encounter at Jacob’s Well,” 161; Harrelson, The New Interpreter’s Study Bible, 1915; Coogan, The New Oxford Annotated Bible, 1918. 

[55] Schneiders, Written That You May Believe, 138.

[56] Attridge, “The Samaritan Woman: A Woman Transformed,” 278; Gench, Encounters with Jesus, 36; Schneiders, Written That You May Believe, 102. 

[57] Coogan, The New Oxford Annotated Bible, 1926.  John’s pattern of faith is witness by another followed by personal encounter with Jesus.  Gench, Encounters with Jesus, 36-37.  The “come and see” and “remain with”/“dwell” imagery for discipleship and faith are used in John.  Schneiders, Written That You May Believe, 142.

[58] Brown, The Gospel and Epistles of John, 38.

Bibliography

A Lapide, Cornelius. S John’s Gospel – Chaps 1 to 11. The Great Commentary of Cornelius A Lapide. Third Edition ed. Edinburgh: John Grant, 1908. 

Attridge, Harold, ed. The HarperCollins Study Bible: Fully Revised and Updated. New Revised Standard Version ed. USA: Harper One, 2006. 

Attridge, Harold W. “The Samaritan Woman: A Woman Transformed.” In Character Studies in the Fourth Gospel: Narrative Approaches to Seventy Figures in John, edited by Steven A. Hunt, D. Francois Tolmie and Ruben Zimmermann. Grand Rapids, MI: Mohr Siebeck, 2013. 

Australian Government Workplace Gender Equality Agency. “Gender Workplace Statistics at a Glance.” Accessed October 28, 2018. https://www.wgea.gov.au/sites/default/files/Stats_at_a_Glance.pdf

Australian Human Rights Commission. “Face the Facts: Gender Inequality.” edited by Australian Human Rights Commission, 6: Australian Human Rights Commission, 2018. 

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Author

  • Clare Atkinson

    Clare Atkinson. A recent graduate of the Leadership for Mission program, Clare is using her three passions- science, nature, learning- to creatively help others perceive and encounter God’s heart in small ways.

    clarea99@outlook.com.au Atkinson Clare