While trips out to the well created social occasions for women, the woman in today's Gospel had to go out alone. She had been married five times, and at the time of this story, she was living with a man with whom she wasn't married. She was an old flirt whom people avoided. However, she was the first to size up Jesus at the Messiah.
John's Gospel had an underlying theme about the slowness of people to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. After he turned water into wine in Chapter Two, the best to be said about the Apostles was that "They began to believe in him." Nicodemus in Chapter Three would go no further than to say that Jesus must be a man come from God.
The woman at the well knew him to be the Messiah, and she went about the village, announcing his having come.
These story alerts us to the depth of soul we might find in people we look down on.
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