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by Lynn Anderson
The Woman Nobody Wanted
Race lines in Belfast, Kosovo, and the Middle East could scarcely be more tautly drawn than those ancient lines between Jews and Samaritans.
It all began centuries earlier, when the Assyrians carried the northern tribes of Judah into captivity. The Jews had betrayed their heritage by intermarrying with the Assyrians, thus diluting their bloodline and creating a mongrel race called the Samarirans. Their religion became contaminated too. By the time the Samaritans returned to their homeland, their views of God were greatly garbled.
By contrast, when the southern Hebrew tribes were carried off into captivity, they stubbornly resisted the Babylonian culture. They returned from Babylon to Jerusalem, proud that they had compromised neither convictions nor culture. They would remind the Samaritans of the southern superiority at the drop of a skullcap. Even when the Samaritans offered to help rebuild the Jerusalem Temple, the southern Jews vehemently rejected their assistance, and more bricks were set into the wall of prejudice and resentment between Jews and Samaritans. So the Samaritans built their own temple; but in 129 B.C. a Jewish general destroyed it, a slap to Samaritan dignity that stung for centuries. Meanwhile, Jewish bigotry only deepened. So the woman who faced Jesus that day belonged to an unwanted heritage.
As if it wasnt enough that our water-bucket lady was from a throw-away culture and a throw-away sex, this Samaritan woman also seemed unwanted by her own people. Having gone through five husbands, she was now shacked up with a lover. Her history of rootless romances draped over her like a sandwich sign, advertising to all that she was a social leper, not welcome at the morning well with proper people. She was a reject, shoved to the edge of humanity, a target of cruel jokes and lustful men. Doubtless, she could see nothing ahead but the empty drudgery of the water buckets and wifely bed of a man who wasnt even her husband. Yet way down inside of her, she had not stopped wishing that somewhere, sometime, some way, God would touch his people that he would touch her!
Author: Lynn Anderson
Publication Date: August 7, 2002
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