A Quaker Reading of John 4:1-42

The Postmodern Quaker

John 4 by Jerome Nadal, S.J.


Whether or not John 4:1-42, a story of an encounter between Jesus and a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well, recounts an historical event, it is rich in teaching and presents multiple possibilities to the exegete. My interest lies in reading the text from a traditional Quaker perspective, which stresses scripture as pointer to inward reality and asserts that the living Christ, not the scripture, is the “Word” of God;1 accordingly, I will emphasize the pericope’s overall theme of the offer and direct revelation, to people outside of normative Judaism and indeed beyond all religious systems, of the Spirit of God, a Spirit received not through a religious tradition but in encounter with the living Christ.


Although the Samaritan people thought of themselves as keepers of the Mosaic Law (Torah), Jews…

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