Beckett: Pastor’s Thoughts – The Women at the Wells (Genesis 24)

In Genesis 24, Isaac meets his wife, Rebekah, at a well and she is brought into God’s promise through Isaac. In fact, Rebekah would give birth to Jacob/Israel (Genesis 25:19-26), who is Jesus’ direct ancestor (Luke 4:34). Rebekah truly became blessed with thousands of 10 thousands (Genesis 24:60) through her lineage and, ultimately, her descendant, Christ. In this first occasion by a well, a woman named Rebekah is brought into God’s promise through Isaac.

In the second occasion by a well, a Samaritan woman is brought into God’s promise through Christ (John 4:1-42). Isaac marries Rebekah, and she is brought into God’s promise made to Isaac after his father Abraham. By faith, the Samaritan woman and her people become part of the church, the Bride of Christ. By believing that Jesus “is indeed the Saviour of the world” (John 1:42), the Samaritan woman and the rest of her people were given the promise in Christ.

We see here not only God’s inclusion of Gentiles (in the second occasion by a well), but also His love for woman. This is important to see because of feminist liberal theologians’ false postulation that Christianity is an outdated patriarchal religion that hates women. In Rebekah, we see God’s love for women in that He blesses her with children, most especially by making her the mother of thousands of 10 thousands (Genesis 24:60). Womanhood is honoured whenever God blesses a woman with fecundity. However, this irks feminist theologians because they despise motherhood. To them, motherhood is simply another system of oppression governed by men to serve their own narcissistic purposes, especially old white men. (On that note, Christianity, historically speaking, is not “the white man’s religion”; it is a Middle Eastern religion.)

Yet this claim collapses whenever we see God love and bless women when they are pregnant, especially those who’ve been barren for their entire womanhood. As Scripture says of mothers, “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates” (Proverbs 31:28-31).

With Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well, we see God’s love for women in a societal sense. In first century Palestine, men—especially Jewish men—simply did not interact with women on a social level. That’s why the woman says in her astonishment, “How is it that You, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” And as John explains, “(For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)” (John 4:9). (Besides breaking the gender boundaries of society, we also see here Jesus breaking ethnic boundaries.)

As God, Jesus values women by simply interacting with this ethnic woman. Jesus doesn’t even answer her question. He changes the subject by basically saying, “If you knew who I am, you would ask Me for a drink” (see John 4:10). Eventually, the woman realises who Jesus is—the Messiah she and her people have been waiting for—and by faith she is brought into His promise.

The disciples themselves wonder how Jesus has the audacity to speak with such an ethnic woman (John 4:27). And when the disciples try to give Jesus food to eat, being God and therefore knowing their hearts, He says, “I have food to eat that you do not know about… My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work” (John 4:32, 34). He might as well have said, “Shut up. I am here to do the will of My Father who sent me, which is to speak with this very woman.”

Therefore, here in Genesis and John 4 and elsewhere in the Hebrew Scriptures as well as the Gospels and Epistles, God’s very love for women overturns the false notion that Christianity is an archaic, patriarchal religion that hates women. In Christianity, the patriarchy of men is an authority that loves women just as Christ has loved His church (Ephesians 5:25)—it is an authority that blesses them, loves them, cares for them, and tears down society’s oppressing norms against women, especially today’s societal oppressions that despise wives and mothers who are humble and modest.

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