What does it look like to live a life transformed by the Gospel? The story of the Samaritan woman at the well in John chapter 4 gives us a glimpse of some of the ways in which this woman’s life was transformed by meeting Jesus. If you’ve ever wondered “but what happened next in her story?”, well, wonder no more! Drawing on traditions preserved by Orthodox believers over the century, I also explore the story of her life after that meeting, revealing some further ways in which her life was transformed by the Gospel. Just as meeting Jesus transformed her life, it should likewise transform ours.
The podcast below is the audio of a sermon I preached at Bellevue Baptist Church on 11 August 2019. It is part of a series of 4 sermons on the Samaritan Woman that is being preached there (with the other 3 sermons being covered by one of the church’s regular preachers).
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5 thoughts on “The Transformative Gospel – Sermon on John 4”
I really enjoyed your message, Bronwen. I especially liked your point that the woman may have been blamed, directly or indirectly, for the deaths of her husbands. I haven’t heard this point made about the Samaritan woman before, but it sounds entirely plausible.
It reminded me of a story in the Book of Tobit (circa 200 BC). Seven husbands of Sarah (Tobit’s future daughter-in-law) are killed on their respective wedding nights by a demon, and Sarah is shamed and blamed. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Tobit+3%3A7-17&version=CEB
Thanks Marg. I hadn’t read that story from Tobit before – while clearly an exaggerated story (all being killed by a demon on their wedding nights!), it adds some further context to the possibility that it wasn’t considered unusual for a woman to have had several husbands who died. In a time and place where the life expectancy was quite low and the husband was usually quite a bit older than the wife, it shouldn’t really be surprising. And of course, we don’t know how old the Samaritan Woman was! People in gospel stories in kids’ Bible storybooks are always depicted as relatively young (unlike Moses, etc., who are always old, except in the basket of reeds!), so I think we then tend to picture them as relatively young unless we are told otherwise (e.g. Anna). My own gran outlived 3 husbands, all I think relatively close to her in age. If she could outlive 3, it doesn’t seem implausible that a woman in those cultural and demographic circumstances could outlive 5, in entirely respectable ways.
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I think I recall that Lyn’s gran also survived three husbands. And these instances weren’t too long ago. Life expectancy was a lot more precarious two thousand years ago. And people were a lot more superstitious back then. So I can see that, like Sarah in the book of Tobit, people may have blamed the Samaritan woman for the deaths of her husband. Poor lady.