Missions by the Least: The Samaritan Woman of John 4:1-42

현대선교 23 (Current Mission Trends): “여성과 선교”. 발행 : 2020년 2월 17일, 서울:GMF Press. 수록면 : 107-133.

Eiko Takamizawa
She earned her Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies from Trinity International University, IL, USA, and now serves as Professor of Mission/Intercultural Studies at Torch Trinity Graduate University, South Korea.
Steven S. H. Chang
He earned his Ph.D. in New Testament Studies from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK, and now serves as Professor of New Testament at Torch Trinity Graduate University, South Korea.

1. Introduction

Women played significant roles in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. They received miracles of healing from their own sicknesses and evil spirits, won forgiveness from grave sins like adultery, anointed Jesus at great cost, modeled piety in giving out of poverty, and witnessed his resurrection, among other important roles. But the most intriguing of all women is the Samaritan in John 4. Jesus transformed this woman from a sinful outcast to an effective missionary. How did this happen and what are the implications for today’s missions? This article explores the Samaritan woman story to find out how Jesus approached and transformed her, and what are the challenges that today’s churches should discern from her example.

Of all the characters in the Gospel of John, the Samaritan woman was the most difficult for first-century Jews to receive. As interesting as she was, the Samaritan was scandalous and farthest from what Jews considered acceptable to God. John nevertheless portrays her as a “believer” and more than that, as a missionary witness to Jesus. Through characteristic irony, John presents the Samaritan woman as a simple believer and a model missionary, in what the apostle Paul might well regard as a case of how God “chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not —to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him” (1 Cor 1:28-29; NIV1All quotations are from the New International Version (Biblica, 2011).). With such an intriguing female figure, a missional reading2A “missional hermeneutic” emphasizes four “streams,” according to George R. Hunsberger, “Proposals for a Missional Hermeneutic: Mapping a Conversation,” Missiology: An International Review 39 (2011): 309-321. In biblical interpretation, the framework is the mission of God as the basic storyline of the Bible, the aim is the equipping of the church for mission, then and now, the approach is from the mission location, and the matrix is the gospel that engages human cultures. of John 4:1-42 will accentuate the extraordinary way in which God uses women in mission in spite of disadvantage and discrimination.

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