This week’s reading is the ‘Woman at the well’.  It is a much loved reading and leads itself into many creative interpretations.  Today we will listen to being read, see it being performed, experience it being danced and be part of different ways of presenting this reading.

In the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well, we see Jesus modelling a way of encountering others that is inviting, challenging, provoking, affirming, and, in the end transforming, not just for the one he encounters but for a whole community.

The woman at the well had probably gone to the well in the heat of the midday sun to avoid people, those who gossiped about her. Instead she encounters one who changes her life. But Jesus did that, not by offering her something but by asking something of her. It was his questions and the response they demanded that led to the woman’s transformation.

At the well, though weary from travel, Jesus discerns an opportunity for engagement.  He could easily have drawn water for himself. He could easily have sat quietly watching the woman from the shadows. But, by making himself vulnerable, by asking for help the woman is invited to respond to him.

An encounter with Jesus has the power to take folk way beyond what they might have imagined for themselves.

Our task, having experienced such an encounter, is to make the possibility of those encounters available to others. We do that by relying on the one whom we serve to awaken us to opportunity. That means we have to create space for discernment, for listening to God in the everyday, to be alert for the possibility of encounter.

Jay Robinson

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