Chocolate Seeds for Lent 2005
Week 3, March 1: The Den, led by Marcus Curnow
Biblical Text: John 4:5-42 The Quest for Tim Tams that Never Run Out: (Woman at the Well)
World Texts: “Chocolat” The Movie (Scene 9: Hidden Thoughts and Yearnings)
Revised Common Lectionary: Year A, Third Sunday in Lent
Loosley based on Christ and the Choclaterie: A Lent Course, Hilary Brand, (Darton Longman Todd, London, 2002)_
Play Chocolat Scene 9: Hidden Thoughts and Yearnings
How do you react to Vianne’s pagan roots? “The spinning plate, ‘secret ingredients’, “I know your favourite.” approach? Are they marketing ploys or more sinister. Is this an idealised presentation of Mayan tradition alongside a harsh presentation of Christian tradition?
What has made you feel uncomfortable about your interaction with other belief systems? What have you learned from them?
What are our initial responses to the text? Gut reactions? Questions that arise?
Men meeting women at wells is a common ancient story. In fact is is foundational to the story of Israel (eg. Issac Rebbecca; Jacob/Rachel. Gen24/29. Patriarch meets woman>marries>kids>nation)
How is John messing with the master story? What might have been gut reactions or questions for the original hearers of this text?
Ezra 4 provides some history on the roots of the Jew/Samaratin division.
Biblical Scholars have often treated this woman as another woman gone wrong upon whom Jesus has compassion. Is this a fair reading of John’s presentation? Why?
What if Jesus is not talking about her sex life?
With references to “You/r people?”(Greek plural) Is it better to think about the conversation as being between representatives of their respective nations, talking about thier common ancestors.
Is the question of her five husbands talking about her personal life or the ‘idolatrous’ relationship of Samaria to the 5 other nations represented in 2 Kings 17:24-34? What if the man she is not married to is a reference to the Roman occupation.
She responds not by talking about her sex life but by calling him Prophet. What is the nature of Prophet in the scriptures? (Special signs of personal knowledge of individuals/magic past/future tellers OR political role of keeping the nation true to its spiritual/political uniqueness, naming internal injustice and idolatry and compromise with Israel’s realtionship with other nations.)
The ensuing conversation is perhaps not the woman avoiding talk of her personal life but continuing the conversation about nationalism and worship.
“He told me all the things I ever did” (verse 39). Is this Jesus talking about this womans personal life or narrating the hisotry of her/their peoples much like with the disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24?
The title given by the Samaratins to Jesus of “Saviour of the World” is unique to this story in the New Testament. A title connected with the worship of the Roman Emperor.
Jesus is presented as greater than the “man” they are currently “in bed with” and has resolved worship divisions via the higher concept of “Spirit and Truth.” Jesus is presented as labouring through the Samartin Territory and through his dialoge and her actions the Jew/Samaratin, Male/Female divides are bridged . The Samaratins love it!
Jesus doesn’t just show compassion to a passive woman but they debate titles that are contested between their peoples: Greater than Jacob?, Prophet, Messiah, Saviour of the World.
What contested ideas/ titles would Jesus debate today with a person who was:
Muslim Asylum Seeker
Suburban “Soccer Mum”
How is the characterisation of this woman as disciple different from that of Nicodemus?
Jesus ‘Laboured’ 4.6 and connects this with the disciples mission “labouring”. 4.37
The disciples struggle to get Jesus? Their interest is in survival, food. They forget the abundance of the Wedding at Cana, miss the offer of living water that Jesus is offering. The cant see past the Jew/Samaratin, Male/Female divide.
Think of unreconciled parts of your life, relationships, our world. The seemingly insurmountable Jew/Samaritan divides of our own experience. How has your experience of bearing witness to God’s truth and love in difficult situations been exhausting “labour”; physically, emotionally etc?
What is our experience of living water, resources and hope to continue? Food to eat to do the will of God/ Doing the will of God as food to eat.
With no credendtials (unlike Nicodemus: Teacher of Israel) an outcast woman successfully ‘bears witness’ about a Jewish person her people have never met.
Think of an experience of being evangelised by someone who was different/ someone you least expected.