Tag Archives: marriage

Violent Craving

The setting of this memoir may be challenging to read easily. I wrote this as a scholarly expository and have not edited for the purpose of an audience that may not have a background in bible exposition. I encourage everyone to read beginning to end though. My commentary is relatively simple with illustration where it is appropriate. I welcome all comments. This is one installment to my upcoming publication dealing with love and grace. Stay tuned for more articles on love! I have more great articles coming. Love has no bounds!

Violent Cravingviolent craving

Gen 3:16  UntoH413 the womanH802 he said,H559 I will greatlyH7235 multiplyH7235 thy sorrowH6093 and thy conception;H2032 in sorrowH6089 thou shalt bring forthH3205 children;H1121 and thy desireH8669 shall be toH413 thy husband,H376 and heH1931 shall ruleH4910 over thee.

Son 8:6  SetH7760 me as a sealH2368 uponH5921 thine heart,H3820 as a sealH2368 uponH5921 thine arm:H2220 forH3588 loveH160 is strongH5794 as death;H4194 jealousyH7068 is cruelH7186 as the grave:H7585 the coalsH7565 thereof are coalsH7565 of fire,H784 which hath a most vehement flame.H7957

Son 8:7  ManyH7227 watersH4325 cannotH3808 H3201 (H853) quenchH3518 love,H160 neitherH3808 can the floodsH5104 drownH7857 it: ifH518 a manH376 would giveH5414 (H853) allH3605 the substanceH1952 of his houseH1004 for love,H160 it would utterly be contemned.H936 H936

Son 7:10  IH589 am my beloved’s,H1730 and his desireH8669 is towardH5921 me.

When reading these passages my mind is reeling with thoughts. So many thought in order to focus I have to stop and start with a single word and work back and forward from this point of reference. I have to reject for the moment all the objections and preconceived notions to consider them later in a balanced logical manner. I am challenged with my English or American culture and language when surveying the Hebrew culture and language. Worse still to comprehend this matter I must also consider the mind of Christ or the culture and language of the Kingdom of God.

Many a student has rushed into a logical expression and failed in assumptions. The frame work begins with God or better stated the culture and language of the Kingdom.

We must begin with the word picture of the English word “desire”. Genesis 3:6 is the first place the English word is translated. This word “châmad” means to lust or wanting something that does not belong to you in a way that it robs the owner. We find this definition to be consistent with other appearances in scripture such as

Deu 5:21  Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

However when we reach Genesis 3:16 we find another Hebrew word “teshûqâh”. This word has been termed a “violent craving” or an intense longing. Some has went so far as defining it as a disease due to the context where as the curse plagues every woman after Eve.

We have on one hand the context and on the other culture language.

Study Notes

( fem., תשוקה / te-shu-qah ) Translation: FOLLOWING Definition: To go, proceed or come after. Being next in order or time. Subsequent to. As the river follows the path of its banks.

The root of this word means

( common, שוק ) Translation: OVERFLOW (V) Definition: [To be verified] The overflowing of the banks of a river.

Word picture by each Hebrew letter from rigth to left

התשוק

tav :  Crossed sticks;  monument, signal, sign, mark

shin : two front teath; sharp, press, eat tow

chet : tent peg; add, secure, hook

quph: sun on the horizon;  condense, circle, time

hey : man with arms raised; look reveal breath

The word picture literally look like this:  sign to press for security all day revealed. To place this in perspective this sign will be seen for all women. They will press hard or manipulate for the purpose of security. This pursuit will cause them to look all the days of their life.

I am quick to say this is not an interpretation rather a picture of the condition Elohim (God) reveals for all women. I am also quick to say that a judgment is not a curse of person rather a propensity of character.  We observe this in two ways. Eve would be concerned for her children. The word for sorrow in this passage is to worry. Many would say the travail of physical birth is the meaning here. Though we can find evidence of this in child birth this is not the translation. We cannot ignore the labor pains but it does belay the passage and the anxiety of bringing up children outside of the garden and the protection and security that it provides. We see then the propensity following that is all about her need or her want of security. This is not a curse rather this is the result of transgression Elohim cautioned them about. They were told not to eat the fruit of the tree because the results would be catastrophic. This is the first evidence of the law of cause and effect. Transgression resulted in sin. Sin is the result and when sin is fully conceived it brings destruction. Eve is not being cursed for ignorance rather she is being saved from further ignorance. God provided security and protection. She ran from this security and protection to a tree with a promise of something else. This is where we are draw into the narrative.  She has her security and protection removed. Further she is experiencing something that is really foreign. She is separated both spiritually and physically from Adam. Her vulnerability is increased. Oneness is not a desire but a design. This makes the desire for design as termed Violent Craving. Once you have something and it is gone the desire to have it again is excruciating. The overflow of water seen in a fountain overflows because of fullness to return to the source from whence it came. The scene here in Genesis is different though because the flow exceeds the bounds of the river drowning and destroying the landscape around.  The Flow is a torrent and violent causing collateral damage even changing the landscape.

onenessoneness

Oneness is God the Fathers design.  Adam was made of earth as a body to house the Human being for the purpose of experiencing the Grace of God demonstrated by Christ the Son of God. What does this mean? In this context Adam is a being named for the physically body. In the same way angels are named for their celestial body. Throughout the scriptures men have been named for characteristics manifested in the physical world. David has historically been known “am man after God’s heart”  and his name means “beloved”. “Adam” means made from earth or earthy and literally means ruddy as a complexion.  Eve is not made in the same fashion. She is made from Adam. We must hold at this point. We cannot understand this scene or the event until we make this picture complete. From the ground Elohim made man. This is to say that the elements He is to be made of are linked together chemically to form a genetic code that makes a kind called mankind. Chemically the electrical charges are aligned in a code. The code literally is a programming that displays physical characteristics to include all the mechanisms and organs that must function to display and maintain health. The chemicals are then coded to form the bonds necessary to make these organs. This is the makeup of every physical body to include the animals and plant or every living thing after their kind. Adam is made a kind of physical body. This is where we arrive at Eve. She is not coded from the earth. Instead Adam’s Code is divided. The English rendering of this scene says that Elohim took a rib and fashioned Eve. The word rib is simplistic and if this was all we had to understand this passage we could come to an understanding though not a complete picture. The concept is the marrow of this curved bone is all the genetic material needed to fashion another body. We know this from those who receive bone marrow transplants who take on the characteristic of the person who donates the marrow. We can understand this scene greater from the Hebrew word:

צלעה

tsal‛âh meaning “a side”.

We arrive at this meaning from the word picture “journey to bind know divide from “trail shepherd staff eye tent wall”. The letters of the word tsal‛âh form a picture of not a rib singular but the half of man denoting something more than physical. We term this correctly as masculine and feminine. This is not just a physical value though because this carries the values both emotional and psychological. These values are not differences as much as complimentary and completion. These are a matter of design and function. Adam was made complete in body with a balance of hormones testosterone and estrogen making him ONE. Eve was fashioned feminine meaning she was taken from Adam leaving him masculine. The two together make one flesh, a single family unit with a singular design function.  This new body is then assigned a human being to walk in unity. The word picture is then representative of Christ and the bride or the body/church stated as one body and one spirit.

Eve needs oneness not because of lust for something that does not belong to her. Eve needs oneness not because she has issues of pride to rule the new world. Eve needs oneness because she was created as one with Adam. She is a part of him that she cannot deny or escape. The relationship is damaged if not lost. The spiritual connection is broken because they are dead where as the word death means literally separated. At this point spiritual death takes on an expanded meaning. Eve is separated from Christ meaning she is fallen from grace. Eve is also separated from Adam meaning she is fallen from all relationships she knew in the garden. Adam is dead and she is dead spiritually. This cannot be overstated. Spiritual death drives Eve to a point of despair we all can relate. For her though who tasted the life and vitality of the garden and relationship with Christ and Adam this despair does not have words to describe. What kind of world will her children live in? What of the security of the garden? Where will they live; what will they eat; how will they survive? There has not been a more desperate moment in all of history. What will she do? What will they do?

We pick up a portion of the narrative where one of them conceives the idea of sewing fig leaves together to cover their nakedness. Why the covering? Eve is vulnerable and she hides from Adam her husband and Christ who walks in the Garden. She is vulnerable, unprotected in an environment that once was a safe haven. What changed? The garden did not change. Eve changed. She is lost in the flood that once was a river in the banks. She is caught up in the torrent that sweeps her away from the only thing she had ever known. She knows fear! Fear of uncertainty. Fear of Death. But why?

The narrative goes deep into the purpose Eve was created. This is where the story line gets profound. Looking at the text line by line, we see first that God places the man He had made in the garden and immediately gives the first commandment. It’s a dietary law: “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (Gen. 2:16-17 NASB)

Keep this context in mind as to what God says and does in the next verse: Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” (Gen. 2:18 NASB) Consider the implications of these verses being juxtaposed together like this? Why does YHWH give Adam the first commandment and then straight away tells us that Adam needs an ezer kenegdo (suitable helper)?  How can we ignore the obvious connection that Eve’s purpose is somehow connected to the command for Adam to obey?  This is where the narrative gets really interesting.

An ezer is literally an aid, a help, a guard, and a protector meaning to surround. In nearly all of its uses in the Old Testament, ezer is used in reference to YHWH (the LORD; English translations use all cap letters when YHWH is found in the hebrew).

 

Ps. 33:20 Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help (EZER) and our shield.

Ps. 70:5 But I am afflicted and needy; Hasten to me, O God! You are my help (EZER) and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay.

Hos. 13:9 It is your destruction, O Israel, That you are against Me, against your help (EZER).

We should ask the question that is answered in this text. Why does Elohim use language that is directed to Him in the language of the formation of Eve? First we understand that she is not purposed to be an assistant to Adam. She is not a baby factory or nurse. Eve’s role is far more important than our cultural portrays. The language demands that we follow a logical ends to purpose. Eve’s function is to help Adam in a similar way that God helps us. The Hebrew text implies Eve is a type of guide or her existence is to help Adam fulfill his divinely created purpose namely to obey the Word of the LORD. The word “help” in this context is one of conscience that surrounds Adam. I would not be so bold as to say this is a spirit guide. However we must not discount that she is a Human Being implying that her being is spiritual made in the likeness of God. In other word she is spirit in a body. In this way she is to aid Adam in obedience and consequentially also means for one to disobey is to mean both disobey. Together they stand or fall.

There is more to this expression ezer kenegdo. The Hebrew kenegdo is actually a compound of two prepositions, ki and neged. Neged means before, in front of, corresponding to, against, and opposite;  Ki means like or as. Why is this so important? When we combine the two words the implication is a corresponding contradiction: to be for and to be against. However we must remember that these expressions are a position. In the same way a hedge is to keep some in and some out kenegdo describes the position Elohim created for Eve. If Adam is righteous then Eve is for him and if Adam is unrighteous she is against him. This is not indicative to transgression or the resulting sin rather the direction of travel and counsel. The expression “Remember the LORD your God” is a matter of travel and counsel.  In the same way the LORD our ezer steers us toward righteousness. Fact is in our fallen state His desire even when He is against us is to turn us back to repentance.  Eve was created to be ezer kenegdo to Adam.  This was her divinely designed purpose. She has a special role to play in the life of Adam.

This text reveals the depth of Eve’s worry and corresponding sorrow at the fall. She is designed for the purpose of maintaining obedience between Adam and Christ. She is his intercessor and front/rear guard. She is to support him when he embraces Christ’s direction and oppose him when he does not. She is the ezer in the only field he needs additional attention. Notice the commandment to eat or not eat was given to him but this is not his only command. He is also tasked with keeping the garden and tending to the daily business of the garden. He does not need help in work, stewardship, dominion of animals or expansion plans as his family grows. He needs spiritual awareness and obedience. Without her, the man is at great risk and vulnerable.

This is the meaning of the word of the Lord that she received in Gen 3:16. Her world of security and protection is removed and great uncertainty is a way of life outside of her personal relationship with Christ not with Adam. Adam will still need an ezer kenegdo though he will not easily or readily accept this help due to his previous experience.  The bond is broken and trust will have to be re-established. This trust will have to be her relationship with Christ: Love and Respect.

There is a violent craving. Yes there is dysfunction. No this is not a disease or a curse. The woman’s need is not for what she can never have, rather a need to be who she is created to be. She has every cause to feel as she does toward man or men. This does not make right rather reveals the desperate need we have of Christ who restore and saves.

Look back at the Garden of Eden now. See the Angel of the LORD that stands barring the way to the only purpose and security they knew. Now see Christ who builds an alter and sacrifices himself on that alter; clothing them in animal skins as a symbol of the blood He shed clothing them in Grace. Eve got her restitution though it would be years before she would see it face to face. The ONE who walks in the garden Walks with us and talks with us even to this day only in a messy world stained with ignorance and deceit.

This narrative is the call for women to rise to the occasion and become the Women of Grace God created them to be. This is also the call to men to rise to the occasion and become the voice of God spreading the word of God to shed light in the darkness of ignorance. Oneness between Man and Wife is possible. He that hears let him hear.

RESPECT

In “respect is a man’s deepest value”, Emerson reports on a national survey in which 400 men were asked which they could endure better: (a) to be left alone and unloved in the world, or (b) to feel inadequate and disrespected by everyone. Seventy-four percent said they would prefer being left alone and unloved over feeling inadequate and disrespected.( Love and Respect pgs 49-52)

RESPECT

This one paragraph hit so close to home that I feel the stab in my back right between the shoulder blades. At the drop of a hat I will respond to the call to war , to protect home and family. Does this mean that I like to fight? That would be a greatly overstated. However God has wired us men that it is not common for us to back down from a good fight or better stated the action of backing down is the result of  the suppression of manliness. Men what does that say about us? To fight and lose is the same as to fight and win. This is called respect. I do not win all my fights in life. I have lost the battle of pride many times. I have lost the battle with lust many more times. I have lost the battle with bitterness and coldness toward others. I have acted in an unloving way to my neighbor, friends, family, wife and my God. I still come back swinging to be humble before my God. A man is not measured by the battles he loses but the number of times he gets back up and comes back swinging. The most boring boxing matches is the one that does not last one round. However respect goes to both men for getting in the ring. We all want to see a long battle that shows the determination of each man willing to stay the course. Truly does it matter who wins? No! except to the bookie and the betting men who do not have the courage to get in the ring! I am not a great fan of boxing or fighting sports but I am a man and I can relate to the why they do what they do. No man truly wants anything other than respect and if respect is not coming leave us alone.

1Co 9_24-27 

We are instructed as men to live in such a way that we do not bring dishonor or disrespect first to God and then to ourselves. Respect is the highest measure of God for it produces Glory. Many times in the scripture we are told to Fear God. The English language is too subjective for this expression. To fear God we recognize that He is supreme in intelligence, power, and might. Everyman esteems to have all three of these qualities. To possess them is wisdom and respect. Some of the most powerful men that have walked on this earth did not have physical stature to move mountains and yet they moved mountains. Power is found in the arm and chest. Power is also found in the intellect. Might is found in the stature of a man. Might is also found in the temper of a man. This is illustrated with diamonds which possess power and hardness. What can match the power and hardness of a diamond?  The fear of God is our view of His intelligence, power and might.

And fear not them which destroy the body, but are not able to destroy the spirit: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both spirit and body in hell. Mat_10:28

Many have been harsh with this passage. Jesus is speaking to us men on a very personal level. Who do you respect?  The same is said of poisonous snakes, lions, bears, crocodiles, and sharks. Make your own list. We give them space for the reason of respect. They have the power to wreck havoc on our body. They are worthy of this respect. You can call this fear if you must. The respect is not found in what they do instead what they are capable of doing.

micah-6_8

Now the million dollar question:  What does God require? He requires the same thing all of us men do, who is made in His image and likeness. Respect! You want respect? Be respectable. God the Father gave us Jesus as an example of being respectable. He loved, He cried, and He laughed. He walked on water not to prove that He is God but to show us that we can do mighty things in His name. Ask Peter! He healed the lame, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf not to prove that He is God but to show us that we have the power to have compassion on the needy and fix broken things. He gave life to the dead not to prove that He is God, but to show us that life is in our words for the building up of those who are around us. Ask Martha. He gave His life on the Cross innocent of every charge brought against Him not as a show of weakness or frailty but as a show of strength found in mercy. Ask the thief beside him on the Cross!  This mercy is to be our strength in this messy world. He was buried in a borrowed grave to show us that our life is not about the monument raised in our name because this is not the end but the beginning. He arose from the Dead to show us that as God he has shown the way through the grave and blazed a trail to greater things than we have ever known. He appeared to the disciples who testify that grave could not hold him and death could not  defeat the power of God and that we to are victorious through Him. We are a victorious people who though we may lose battles WIN THE WAR. He did this for you and so much more. This is RESPECT. This is GLORY.

Men we all want respect. Fact is we need respect. We are wired for respect. Respect begins with a relationship with Christ and following the example He has set before us. What this means is that we fight for character and integrity. We evaluate our lives and take corrective actions to be men of faith, men of courage, men of honor, and men of integrity. We go through the furnace and temper our words and actions. We do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God!

1-Corinthians_2-9

Marriage: Two Become One

The Woman at the well (John 4) paints a picture of mercy and grace granted by Christ. I have read this passage and preached this passage many times over the last 30 years. I am confounded, amazed and astounded every time I read the passage.

Imagine for a moment the position of this Samaritan woman as she approaches the well of Jacob at midday. She is broken, tormented by her transgressions of God and man. She has been used by men and abused by the culture and society she lives. For her this is life. She represents in many ways what is wrong with our messy world. Pragmatically she is the common woman. She is as God designed yet she’s bound by circumstance, culture and sin that easily beset every human being. As I read this passage I am filled with compassion. Yet we live in a world just like this setting and we have people just like her around us. In many ways we are just like her. I ask the myself “do I have compassion for the people around me who have her kind of story?” She is married 5 times and lives with a man who is not her husband. She represents the licentious, immoral, depraved, profligate and scandalous life. Many would call her a harlot. I imagine though she was called a free spirit and in some circles lived a life that other were jealous. Why? The praise of man is more sought than the scorn of society. She lived with the scorn with a level of freedom. I can imagine that every woman in the village warned their husbands to give wide girth to this loose woman. Fear of conflict kept both men and women at bay restricting the influence this woman has to only the debased and depraved culture that enslaves her to a life of scandal and scorn. This scene is so familiar to us in today’s society that it is like watching afternoon soaps or evening sitcoms.

In times past I have gotten so caught up with the story that I have overlooked the scene and the principles taught by Christ. Jesus comes to this woman to teach her that the day has arrived He is revealing His Deity. Very clearly He states that the day has come that He the Son of God will be worshiped in Spirit and Truth. This is the Purpose of His meeting her at the well. There are many more lessons to be learned in this passage that is not stated yet are taught none the less.

Jesus first tells this woman that if she knew who He was she would ask Him for living water. What does Jesus mean by this statement?  To know Jesus is the prerequisite to the question. Who is Jesus Christ? Plainly stated in

Colossians 1:15-18  “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Who is Jesus Christ? I love this picture because the One who created this woman before the foundation of the world is speaking personally to her. He is her creator. He is my creator and He is your creator.

What is this “living water”? Jesus reveals to this woman an evil that has darkened the landscape of earth.

Jer 2:9-13   Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the LORD, and with your children’s children will I plead. For pass over the isles of Chittim, and see; and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing. Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

She catches on to His statement. She asks Him “Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well…”? She is pricked by His comments and after Jesus tells her to call for her husband she replies “Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” The issue is the living water or the place of contentment, satisfaction, peace, joy and safety. The design of this woman by God was to have the fountain of living waters not the land of dry sand that cannot hold water. She was designed with purpose and Jesus seeks her out personally. She is caught not in adultery, but idolatry. The base of her problems is her view of God. She is caught in Idolatry believing she is worshiping her creator; However she is not sure even about this view. She is caught in the theological debate where to worship. She is caught in religion with no way to divide the word of truth. Underlying is the question “what is truth?” She is less concerned with what is truth and more concerned with which truth to follow. From this passage I believe she understood that truth is coupled with the expression “just because you can does not mean you should”. An extreme example of this is exemplified with the hydrogen atom. We are capable of splitting the atom this is true. However to split the atom brings mass destruction. Truth at this point is not the question. Which truth to follow is the unspoken question. The “living water” answers the question for her. We are to worship every day, everywhere all the time. Later we would hear these words from Paul a very religious person who met Jesus and his life was dramatically changed, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

We cannot escape the scene with our hearing the rest of the story. To easily we could walk away from this scene and Say, Amen. The scene though draws us in deep. Deep calls to deep in this passage. This woman goes back to the village and I am convinced just as Christ created her exemplified her God given personality. As an evangelist personality she has discovered information that everyone should hear about. Further she has had a life changing experience she is by design compelled to tell everyone who is close to her and will give audience.

John 4: 28-30  The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.

I speculate that the men in this scene are her five husbands and possibly the man she lives with. However there may be others who, like her, find themselves in bondage of circumstance and culture. I would like to propose once again that this woman was caught in Idolatry not necessarily adultery. This is not situation ethics. Though we have little information in this passage we do have historical accounts that give us some clarity in understanding this passage and more importantly the institution we call marriage.

I am ashamed that I was unable to see this scene over the years due to a view that is not wholesome. We can make assumption that prevent us from seeing clearly what is set before us. We assume that this woman is married and divorced 5 times and now is shacked up with a man whom she is immorally involved. However this is not stated. She is married 5 times and she is living with a man that she is not married. There is no indication she is physically involved with this man. We get the indication that she simply serves more as a servant than wife. She is at the well to draw water for the household it would seem. So what do we see in this scene and what can we ascertain from the testimony of Christ and this woman?

We must comprehend the times which this woman lives. For simplicity and personalization I will call her Samantha (Samaritan Woman). Samantha’s culture is a male driven world where females are typically property. Samantha does not have rights to own property or own a business. Imagine now her plight. We do not know and cannot know the why or how she ended up in the circumstances she faces. However many scenarios could play out the same way. She could have been an unwanted child forced to the streets at any age or by losing her father to death with no redeeming man to take her mother (orphan). Male children were not typically abandoned unless they were lame because they carried on the family name and inherited the estate. We see a similar circumstance in the book of Ruth. Ruth could have become Samantha having no husband alive to care for her and provide proper living quarters. We don’t know the why and how she ended up on the streets but we do know that she is on the streets and not in a respectable nature. The very nature of property ownership carries the preclusion that the property must be useful and wanted. Obviously she was needed 5 times and not wanted 5 times. She is passed around like a cup of wine giving a pleasure for a time and left empty. Samantha at this time is in dire straits needing a level of security and safety. I observe she is also in need to be gainfully employed or stated another way need to serve for room and board.  I am persuaded this is why she is shacking with the 6th man and he is not her husband. This calls into question what is marriage that one could be married 5 times with no divorce. This is not easy to accept by our current view of marriage. We assume marriage as a legal binding agreement with ceremony and contracts . However this has not always been and in this case most assuredly. Find a marriage in scripture like our marriage ceremony today. Trace marriage back as far as you can in scripture and you will find no ceremony. You however do find celebration of marriage. Marriage therefore is the union of a man and woman physically. Marriage was consummated by witnesses during or after the fact. We find it unfathomable to have a marriage consummation in our private society.  Privacy was not as common as it is today. Poor married couples rarely had their own private chambers, and wealthy couples had servants sleeping on the floor at the foot of the bed. We see Ruth sleeping as a servant at the foot of Boaz. (Ruth 3:8) Therefore most people were shameless or unembarrassed by something considered natural and good between a husband and wife. Jacob was surprised to find Leah in his bed come morning when the witnesses came to consummate His marriage to Rachael. He was deceived in to believing he was marrying Rachael, only for Leah to be placed in his bed chamber during the darkness of night. That night he married Leah and seven years later he married Rachael. (Gen 29: 21-28). Marriage by this definition is sexual intercourse.  Consummation then was cause for celebration. It goes without saying that without the marriage there is no celebration. Anything could happen prior to this union negating the necessary of the celebration. The two become one flesh is the biblical definition of marriage and more importantly is the origin of the word.

Samantha is not unlike many who we read in scripture that has more than one spouse. Jacob had 4 wives. We commonly recognize two Leah and Rachael. Leah and Rachael both gave handmaids to Jacob for the purpose of having children. The 12 tribes of Israel are from 4 women 1 man. Jacob tended to the needs and cared for his wives and large family. He was devoted to the family God had given. There is a distinct difference in Samantha’s circumstances and situation. She has had a union with 5 men whom seemingly are unable to care for her or are unwilling to take care of her. In the same way other marriages in scripture are reported she has 5 husbands. The absence of other reports of women having more than one husband is in part due to a male dominated society (lack of documentation) and in part to commonality of these relationships. In no way does this validate these relationships making these truth models to be followed. Once again we are faced with truth that must be divided:  just because you can does not mean you should. Marriage is not a ceremony or a contract. Marriage is designed to be a union that meets the physical and emotional need of a man and woman. Procreation from this union is God’s design to establish the first institution called a family. The success of this institution is dependent on our view of God which Samantha is learning in this story. For this reason Jesus does not condemn her as an adulterer. She is married to 5 men. She has found solace in the home of another man that is benign: a mere boarding arrangement. I see a life that is broken, battered and bruised to the point of survival. God has designed for our lives more than surviving till our last breath. He has designed with purpose a life that is thriving.

This raises questions concerning promiscuity in our culture and multiple partners prior to ceremonial contractual marriage.  Further this raises questions concerning “live in” couples that fall under common law. The church in general does not recognize marriage without a contract signed between man and woman or at minimum exchanging of vows. This raises questions concerning the doctrines accepted and taught. Marriage is a serious matter to God. I believe there is a clearly drawn line that God has drawn which lends understanding to the concepts of equally yoked couples. Whereas choose carefully the man you are getting involved with or choose carefully the woman you are getting involved with. I can only imagine if “The Samaritan Woman” had a view of God that she got that day at Jacobs Well how different her life would have been.