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Say Something

By Rev. Joan Kessler

John 4:5-42

Say something. One could say this is my task as your minister almost every Sunday. My vocation asks me to say something about the story of the Woman at the Well, we just heard Penny re-enact for us. This particular story, the Woman at the Well as it has come to be known, is a favorite of mine. It shapes me and affects me every time I read it or hear it told aloud. It is the sacred story that was part of my becoming a minister because it turned the tables over on roles and expectations and yearnings and longing that lied deeply buried within me; sometimes we get this beautiful and somewhat scary opportunity to turn thoughts over deep within ourselves and we gaze inward to what the divine presence might be illuminating for us. It is these kinds of things that are on a collision course in our story that takes place on a hot day at a well in the middle of nowhere when Jesus and a Samaritan woman meet.

The heroine of this passage is a woman like any other. She has lived a life that has not been easy, and she is part of a patriarchal society where women are not listened to, nor their opinions valued. We know that women are still fighting for equality. This very week, a summit on the status of women, hosted by the United Nations, is examining ways that gender equality, empowerment, and sustainable development can be achieved in the digital era. On Wednesday, the world observed International Women’s Day and some of us discussed how Woman was the word of the year for 2022 as cited by The online dictionary noted a 1400% increase in people searching this word, reflecting the public discourse that is taking shape around what it means to be a woman. I wonder what it will look like to see the pendulum swing from patriarchy to matriarchy and will it one day. And most likely not in my lifetime, will the pendulum rest in the middle where there is full equality between masculine and feminine identities and gender roles?