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Well Scene, John 4, Samaritan woman, Verbal Aspect, Narrative Analysis


Previously, Donald C. McIntyre has argued for a reappraisal of the typology of the Old Testament Well scenes contrary to popular interpretations espoused by Alter and Sailhamer.[1] This reappraisal has implication for John 4:1-45 with the meeting between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. Evangelical theologians have typically failed to apply their understanding of the Old Testament well scenes consistently to the text of John 4:1-45 because of the implications that would have on Christ’s marital desires. Other theologians, particularly feminist theologians, have been more consistent in their application of the type scenes of the Old Testament to the text of John 4, but have created other theological problems for the understanding of the marital status of Christ. It is this very tension which has necessitated a reappraisal of the well scenes in total. The similarities between the accounts of Old Testament well scenes and the well scene in Samaria are too apparent to be accidental; and therefore, one must assume a rhetorical purpose for John’s inclusion of this story for his account. This article will seek to show that the understanding of well scenes as a hero-narrative, where the well scene identifies a deliverer of the Abrahamic line from imminent danger, best satisfies the textual evidence of John 4, while offering a consistent interpretive method for all of the well-scenes.

[1] For more on this see Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative (New York: Basic Books, 2011), pp. 60-61; and John Sailhamer, The Pentateuch as Narrative: A Biblical-Theological Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995), 243.



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