One of the names I have been given since I’ve been a Pastor is “That Woman.” As in “Oh, that woman!” I suppose to someone who has never been called “That Woman” it sounds innocuous but if you are “That Woman” it smarts. So, I’ve done some thinking about what that title really means. “That Woman” is a person who is not doing things the way she should according to someone, somewhere. Perhaps she’s doing too much or too little. She may be disliked for being herself and to that there is no solution. “That Woman” is a person who may not be aware of her wrongdoing as she is too busy getting the job done. She may be attempting to do her best, but it isn’t perfect. “That Woman” may be seen as an outsider, or a person that just doesn’t fit in. There’s a lot of talk about that these days about who fits in with the group and who doesn’t.
Today we approach a Gospel of John text that is all about a woman like that. The Samaritan woman at the well is definitely “That Woman,” especially in the context of her society which had strict boundaries on what women should and should not do, where they should or should not go and with whom they were allowed to converse. Not that this isn’t still so in 2017! I was watching a TV expose called “TomBoy” about women in sports and why there is such a discrepancy in pay as well as prestige. A famous women’s coach nailed it when she said in youth sports nationally, girls are given millions less sports opportunities than boys each year. Millions! Think - we still have a way to go when talking about male/female equality.<