Friday, October 30, 2009

The Discarded Woman’s Tale of Rejection

Part 2 of this story series...


That’s how many husbands she’d had.

But this was no Elizabeth Taylor, wearing men on her arm like golden bangles and casting each aside for a more dashing charmer.

This was a woman who had been rejected.

Five times.

Five times she had married, and five times she had been left.

There’s one of two reasons that she had been abandoned – or a combination thereof:

The first would have been just sheer bad luck. Under the Law of Moses, after a man died, his widow was to have been married to his brother. This is so that the deceased’s name could be carried on – and so that the woman would continue to be cared for.

So it is possible that she had been married to five different brothers, who died one after the other.

But there was a second and more probable reason for her predicament.

She may have been barren. A woman unable to produce children was a scourge – so much so, that the Law also allowed a man to divorce her and move on to someone who could give him a son.

Whether she had been married off from one sibling to another … or whether she had been summarily dismissed for her lack of childbearing or any other type of displeasing reason … she was a discarded woman.

Sadly, she was older now, not as desirable as sinewy younger Samaritan women. A sixth husband? That would have been a feat. But like many others who had been discarded, she was in a pickle. No one else would have her. Her reputation was rock-solid now. But the larger issue was that she did not have the means or ability to provide for herself.

So, discarded women like her … often had to resort to prostitution.

She was living with a man, though, one who would not commit to marriage but who would support her monetarily. This seemed to be the best and only solution.

As such, even in this Samaritan culture that was less stringent than that of the Jewish brothers to the south, this woman was a pariah.

No one – not even other women – would have anything to do with her if they wanted to keep their own reputations intact.

The discarded woman had to resort to doing her daily business and errands apart from society.

And that’s why … at high noon, when the sun was burning brightest and hottest, when a breeze failed to even rustle weeds … she set out on a long trek outside the city gates to draw water from a well.

None of the other women would be there. They would be drawing water at the cool times of day, the early morning or twilight. But the discarded woman wanted to avoid their looks askance, their whispers, their pushing her out of the way, their raised eyebrows, their roll of the eyes. She didn’t need that. She already felt badly enough about herself.

She trudged out, water jug perched, sweat beading on her forehead, to Jacob’s Well.

And that’s when she saw Him.

That’s when her entire life changed.

What does this have to do with a Christian Safehouse? Tune in for part 3 of the story …

1 comment:

  1. Here you go again. On a roll. Weaving a story that we can't put down. Though we've heard sermons on this passage before, somehow, the preacher must have "missed" all this wonderful story-telling detail. Once you set the scene with your words, we want to read more about the real detail of how it must have been. Your research, set in proper language, give us a clear picture! On to the "punch line"!
    Keep up the good reminders!