Research notes

(from www.textweek) for sermon at St James’ Colwall, Harvest for Water Aid, 5th October 2014

John 4: 5.16 The Woman at the Well

Wesley's Notes.
•    "But she might the more easily mistake his meaning, because living water was a common phrase among the Jews for spring water."
Robert Alter, in The Art of Biblical Narrative talked about Hebrew “type-scenes” in which stock characters would act a certain way every time. In the Hebrew stories, it sometimes happens that when a man meets a woman at a well, they get married. So, if you didn’t know who Jesus was, to Hebrew ears, this was a possible outcome, and was a great way of telling a story.

John’s story takes place in a Samaritan city called Sychar. More specifically, near a well called “Jacob’s Well.” It was and remains over 100 feet deep. It’s the kind of well into which water percolates and gathers. The water that Jesus brings, he says, “gushes up.”

‘having drunk deeply from the well of mutual respect.’

Chris Hallam:  “It was about noon”: That a person would visit the well to draw water in the middle of the day is surprising; Water was usually drawn during the less hot times of the day: morning and evening. That the woman draws water about noon suggests that she was an outcast from her village. (???  or she had a lie in or it was less busy then or she thought she had enough and found out she didn’t or ... Hallam along with others seems to be reading something into the text that isn’t there.)