There’s always a level of discomfort when I listen to people talk about women. Initially, after they end, I ask myself, will I ever qualify to be that woman? After years of trying to live a comforting lie, I wake up from my slumber everyday and pursue a life that contradicts if not all, many assumptions of what a woman should be.
The reason why I love Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman aggressively is because, it virtually identifies Jesus as counter-cultural. What in the world would Jesus be talking to an “immoral” Samaritan woman for? I mean, if he wanted water, he could’ve waited for the return of his disciples. It was very unlikely for a Jew to communicate with a Samaritan because of the rift between them. (John 4:9) We also notice that his disciples upon their return, were shocked that Jesus was talking to a woman. (John 4:27)
A woman who had lived with men who were not her husband, was definitely seen as “damaged goods.” Without an aorta of doubt, she was the kind of woman mothers, fathers and society condemned and treated like social pariahs.
These conditions were enough for Jesus to not do what he did. “I AM THE MESSIAH”, Jesus said.
She had been told of a certain Messiah who was to come and there he stood in front of her, presenting her with living water. She went to her people and told them, come and see! She was the first Evangelist to have ever done it in the bible (first to evangelize). Through her testimony, many Samaritans came to believe in Jesus.
We cannot talk about women in the bible without mentioning Deborah. Deborah, a name that screams leadership, power, authority and valor.
“Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?” So Barak went down Mount Tabor, with ten thousand men following him. (Judges 4:14)
A military victory, prompted by a woman—Deborah and successfully executed by not just Barak but by Jael, who killed Sisera by hammering a tent peg into his temple. My admiration for Deborah is not because she stands tall us Prophet of her people but because she did so when women were considered second class citizens and their voices were not heard.
I must acknowledge this, God does not give us gifts or call anyone based on gender. The popular writings of Paul in 1 Timothy 2 (specifically the chapter 12) to the people of Ephesus prescribed this: the women were unqualified to preach. Many have referenced this scripture so many times, even popular Preachers like John Piper (in ask Pastor John Piper) have argued that women should in no way preach to a mixed audience in the local church or in a Sunday School even under the authority of elders. Today, many churches still prevent women from assuming certain leadership positions in the church too.
We need to note that Paul wrote normally addressing the people of Ephesus (not just them) based on the happenings at that particular time. If not, how do we explain Paul encouraging Pricilla to make plain and comprehensible doctrines in Christianity to Apollo in Acts 18:26?
How do we also explain Paul celebrating the good work of Aquila as leader in the church? For so many years, women, who could’ve taught, preached and pushed the church forward were urged not to do so because for some reason, that qualification came with having a particular sex organ. It was never about their gifts or talents.
In the 1900’s, we see a new generation of women like Kathryn Kuhlman and Aimee Semple McPherson in Ministry. In February 1924, Aimee opened Radio Kall Four Square Gospel, the first Christian radio station. Kathryn Kuhlman was known for the many miracles God used her for. They both preached the message of salvation and pulled many souls into the kingdom. I personally love them for their resilience, independence, loyalty and passion for the Lord. (exactly what I’ve been praying for)
Let’s also look at Vashti, the amazing powerhouse. Vashti has been backlashed and viewed as the disobedient and rebellious wife because mysteriously, we suddenly go blind when women are disrespected. Xerxes wasn’t culpable but the woman who didn’t bend to egoism was. She was a woman who wasn’t oblivious of what was happening in her surroundings. She was a non-conformist. She didn’t bow to the culture of silence of her days. She was indeed a Queen!
If there’s anything we should learn from her, it is the fact that we need to say no whenever it has to be said. We don’t need to allow ourselves to be pressured by anyone.
I am often in awe of the ridiculous and over-concentration of the role of Delilah in Samson’s sudden defeat and loss of power. Unlike, Delilah, Samson made the choice and blatantly refused to listen to sound advice. Tamar on the other hand was raped and her freedom to choose was thrown out the window. To Amnon, Tamar’s consent did not matter. We never hear them say, “theAmnon spirit” but for some reasons negative connotations that hammer on the supposed ills or shortcomings of women are continuously brought up in sermons, in conversations and in doctrines. Perhaps, rape and abuse is such a tough subject to dissect because it reinforces the fact that men should not be labelled as protectors of women. Instead, church folks always present this same erroneous impression over and over again. Weakness is neither male nor female.
For us to continuously have this conversation means the church is not ready for the necessary transformation it needs. It still indicates that women, are seen as “less than”, unqualified and incapable. This is a big limitation for the church and the gospel.
In whichever capacity God has called you to serve, do not allow religious ideologies that suppress women and their ministries prevent you from being the woman that you need to be. God needs you in the boardroom. God needs you in politics. God needs you in the healing business. God needs you to preach, to teach and welcome the outsiders into the church. God needs you in all places of decision making. Stand up and be that woman.
GOD NEEDS YOU!!!