Exhausted from global warming in oppressed Palestine, Jesus chilled at Jacob’s Well in the realm of “the other” called Samaria.
Jesus’ cohort left him to buy organic at the nearest kiosk.
A Samaritan woman-“the other to the second power”-approached the community’s gathering space, carrying the symbol of her status in a harsh patriarchal culture.
Jesus said, “Water is good. Water is to be shared. Water is life. May we share in a drink of water together?” He lit two candles, too, symbolizing the two flames of life at the well.
The woman replied, “I am in the oppressed class–a Samartian–and you are in the religiously oppressive class–Jew. I am victim. You are power. How is it that you encounter me in an egalitarian way in a world of power-assigned values?”
Jesus pushed back, “Woman, I am post-Jewish. I am post-Second Temple Judaism. I am assigning new symbolic value to people, places and religion itself. I am on a journey through liminal space into the emerging reality.”
“Friend,” the woman asked, “what will this new reality be?”
Jesus continued to dialogue with the woman, “I don’t know. No one knows. We see through a glass darkly. We are simply deconstructing the old and hoping to see the new emerge. No one can step up and lead, of course, for leadership is a carryover of oppressive power categories incarnate now in the regimes of Rome. We must feel our way into the new world and will know it intuitively. To grope is to grow, we say.”
“Cool,” said the woman, “You give me hope as a worshiper of G-d. I thought you Jews had a corner on G-d and we Samaritans were outside the centered set where G-d lives.”
“Oh no, no, ” Jesus demured, “that is so wrong! No one owns G-d. G-d is not definable. G-d is the ineffable mystery. All our language about G-d only conceals G-d; constructing propositions does not reveal G-d. Let it go. Even more, all we have received about G-d as true has been shaped by alliances with power. Be suspicious. Yet know that I am emergent. I am come to speak truth to power. You have to dismiss some of your received thinking. Let me unpack this for you. G-d is accessed communally, not individually, and however the community defines G-d that is true G-d for that particular tribe. There is no one true ‘G-d’ for all people.”
The woman smiled, responding, “I am so hopeful because even in my societal weakness and personal brokenness, I feel that I am more qualified than the religious power-brokers to find G-d. I am an authentic seeker.”
“Seekers are finders,” Jesus warmly replied.
The woman paused a moment before she spoke. Then she confessed, “Did you know I am living with a man who is not my husband? I have had five husbands already. I will form a loving community of multiple-husbanded women and there encounter and define a loving G-d for us.”
“Yes, yes, you are the messiah for your niche. Welcome to the wonder of liminal space. Your loneliness gives you the moral authority and right to live with whoever and with as many people as you wish.”
Jesus’ cohort returned and shared double-shot mocha breves with all, wondering among themselves what the two candles meant.