What Exactly Do You Mean By “Water”?

June 29, 2012 — 2 Comments

STOP!  Before you read any further, I strongly encourage you to read the first three posts in this series (here, here and here).  If you don’t know what’s been covered, you may be offended.  My intention is not to offend but to cause you to think more deeply about God’s word

You’ve heard of a double-entendre, right?  It’s a spoken word or phrase that can be understood in two different ways.  The first is simple and safe, the second risqué.  For instance, a double-entendre is central to the following sentence.  “A nudist beach is place where men and women go to air there differences.”

Could a double-entendre lay at the heart of Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman?  Might SHE THINK… Jesus… ahhh… is offering her… sex?


WOW!  That was tough to write.  I’m sure you never thought you’d read that from a conservative evangelical.  I hope your hanging with me and didn’t throw your phone or break your computer.

Now I’m not saying that Jesus is offering her sex, mind you.  I’m merely suggesting that the woman perceives him to be.  Here’s why.

For starers, there’s the repeated allusion to sex and marriage in this scene. 

  1. Jesus is described as the groom to whom the bride belongs just before he meets the woman.
  2. The meeting echoes the pattern of several engagement scenes in the Old Testament.
  3. The location where the meeting occurs is specifically connected with a story of rape and marriage.

Secondly, water is a metaphor for sex in the bible.

Read Proverbs 5:15-18.

Drink water from your own cistern and fresh (living) water from your own well.  Should your springs be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets?  Let them be yours alone and not for the strangers with you.  Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth.

Now read Song of Solomon 4:12 and 15:

a garden locked is my sister, my bride, a rock garden locked, a spring sealed up… you are a garden spring, a well of fresh water (i. e. living water).

In other words she’s a virgin.

And we haven’t even mentioned the fact that Jesus, a man, is talking with a woman ALONE.

Do all these details go unnoticed by the woman?  Or Jesus for that matter?  It may very well be that the woman is picking up a different vibe from the one Jesus is sending.

Jesus’ request for a “drink” leads the woman to comment on His forwardness.  “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman”, she reminds him.  “Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”

The Greek word for “dealings” can mean, “to associate with.”  But it can also mean “to be intimate with,” or “to have sexual intercourse“.  Another double-entendre.

Given the facts above, it’s not hard to see how the first part of their conversation could be read in a more sexualized fashion.  And it might even be easier.

Jesus: “Give me a drink.”
Woman“How is that you, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?  For Jews have no dealing with Samaritans.”
Jesus“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink, ‘you would have asked Him, and he would have given you living water.”
Woman“Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do you get that living water?  you are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?”
Jesus“Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
Woman“Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty, nor come all the way her to draw.”  
Jesus“Go, call your husband, and come here.”
Woman: “I have no husband.”
Jesus“You have well said, ‘I have no husband’ for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.”  

The double-entendres render the sudden, seemingly out of place “Go, call  your husband” less jarring.  Jesus’ command lays to rest any misunderstanding.

Why all the subtle references to sex and marriage? What might Jesus and John be up to? We’ll deal with that question in the next post.

Concluded here – Sex and the Samaritan Woman: Takeaway?

This is part four in a five part series.  You can read the first three posts here.  

  1. Warning: You Will Never Read John 4 the Same Way Again
  2. The Thing that Happens When Men Meet Women by Wells
  3. Why We Don’t Talk about that Plot of Ground

Matthew Scott Miller

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