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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

1093: The Samaritan Woman What might she have been thinking?

Day 1093: Tuesday, March 14, 2023

The Samaritan Woman

What might she have been thinking?

“So who is this travelling Jew crossing into our Samaritan territory? He asks me for a drink – he says he is thirsty. So am I, climbing up here several times a day to lower a container, lift it, carry it heavy with water. To do what? Wash, cook, quench thirst only to become thirsty again. Then back – how many times a day, up hill, down hill. Sweating.

It’s not that I am thanked. I’ve been married off to five guys over time, unloved, useful and now another without even wedlock – just to survive. And then the kids! I’m just a workhorse, getting no younger.

“I’m supposed to address this Jew as Sir. Of course he thinks himself superior, being a Jew with his spectacular Temple down there in Jerusalem. He probably doesn’t think much of our Samaritan Temple here in Sychar. They think we are half-breeds, descendants, yes, of Jacob like them, but of so much mixed blood since God knows when – unclean, heretics.

“God! How I feel trapped in this monotonous life of one day after another – anonymous, forgettable. Let me lay it out to him: How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman for a drink when you are not allowed to handle anything I touch? And now what’s he saying? He’s offering me a drink of water fresher than I can draw from our traditional well? Where will he find that?”

What does she begin to think?

“He says if I continue to return to this well of stale water day after day, I will be forever thirsty;

if I submit to this routine of do this and do that with nary a moment of deeper thought I shall continue to come up empty every day of my life; I will thirst for something more but lack the energy to think, to wonder, to BE all that I am primed to be.

He speaks of living water, sparkling, splashing in the sunlight, sweet to taste, welling up incessantly – from where? From within me, inexhaustible once I let it be, let it rise, carry me like a tidal wave into the presence of kindred beings – like people, trees, clouds, tools, creation as somehow resembling me, addressing me, raising me out of my doldrums, releasing me to flow like a crystal clear stream, already stimulating my mind to recall what the world and I have forgotten – spoken of so long ago by the God of Moses:

The truth which I am giving you today is not too wondrous or remote for you. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who will go up to the heavens to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” No, it is something very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to do it.”

What happened next?

His disciples returned, and were amazed that he was talking with a woman, but still no one said, . . . “Why are you talking with her?” The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, “Come see a man who told me everything . . .”

Everyone or no one

Has anything really changed in the lives of women?

Zahra, an activist for women's rights who spray-paints messages of resistance on the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan

On International Women’s Day last week, leaders around the world highlighted the plight of Afghanistan’s women and showed support for their bravery in fighting for their rights.

“Despite decades of progress, in far too many places around the world, the rights of women and girls are still under attack, holding back entire communities,” U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement. “We see it in Afghanistan, where the Taliban bars women and girls from attending school and pursuing employment.”

Foreign ministers of several countries issued a joint statement in which they also said they stand behind the women fighting for equality.

“We unite in acknowledging the extraordinary courage of women and girls in Afghanistan,” the statement read. “We support the calls by the people of Afghanistan for women and girls’ full access to quality education at schools and universities and women’s unrestricted ability to work in all sectors.”

“Everyone or no one,” which calls for male students to stand in solidarity with female students and stop going to classes. She has also painted a Persian expression that translates to “Empty the universities.

“Universities are meaningless without students, so if all male students stop showing up to class, the Taliban will have to reconsider their position,” Zahra said.

She was also part of a group that wrote an open letter to male students that was published just before the start of the spring semester and widely shared on social media. The letter urged male students and faculty members to boycott universities, as they’d promised to do in December.

“We remember your promise and we are waiting for you to make another legendary act on Monday so that the world will see you stand by justice and freedom and not be ashamed in history,” the letter reads. “Millions of girls from all around Afghanistan will look at your stand with tearful eyes tomorrow.”

Zahra said some male students are afraid to boycott school because they fear violent backlash from the Taliban. Still, dozens of students have already joined the effort ― and the number is growing every day.

“It is the beginning of a larger movement,” she said. “I will fight until I regain my rights as a woman.”

Womens rights are being denied in the United States, throughout Latin America, in India, Israel and in so many Muslim countries - all in the name of male-dominated, hierarchical religion.

Writing with Fire is an award-winning documentary about a community of women who have formed their own media company in one of the poorest areas of India. They fight to tell their stories and face off with Hindu nationalist politicians, their families and the local mafia. They are truly heroic.Please watch it if you have the time. Here's the trailer:

An article by the Christian Science Monitor


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