Most of the episodes in the first of part of John’s Gospel, the so-called Book of Signs (1:19-12:50), involve Jesus’ interaction with Jewish religious authorities and institutions. Jesus’ self-revelation through “signs,” John’s word for Jesus’ miraculous acts, and through sayings, particularly the “I am” discourses, occurs in the context of critical and often hostile interaction with Jewish religious authorities. Consider how John’s account of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman (4:1-42) fits within a narrative that presents a sustained critique of Jewish religious authorities and institutions.
- Note how Jesus turns the Samaritan woman’s remark about the religious reason for division between Jews and Samaritans into a critique of religion institution in general. How do Jesus’ comments about worship in Jerusalem relate to his action at the temple and his proclamation about it in chapter 2?
- How do Jesus’ comments about the Jerusalem temple in chapters 2 and 4 relate to testimony about the activity of God’s Logos in the prologue (1:18)? Note the statement, “The Word (Logos) became flesh and lived among us” (1:14; NRSV). The Greek word translated “lived” literally means “pitched a tent.” For a discussion of what this means in a Jewish context, see Dorothy Ann Lee’s comments in NIB One Volume Commentary, p. 713. Note the reference to “my tent” in Sirach 24:8, in the midst of verses describing the work of Wisdom. In the sections “Christology” and “Background of the Prologue” in Introducing Jesus and the Gospels (277-279), Murphy discusses parallels between the work of Wisdom in Jewish scripture and Christ’s work as the Logos. Consider how John’s Gospel affirms the universal scope of the redemptive work of the Logos in contrast to Sirach’s description of God creating a dwelling place for Wisdom in the Jerusalem temple.
- Comparing Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman with his encounter with Nicodemus. Does the Samaritan woman understand Jesus’ testimony about himself and his work any better than Nicodemus? How does her action after her encounter with Jesus compare with that of Nicodemus? Consider how this episode focuses on the relation of faith to understanding, a theme that arises later in episodes involving Jesus interaction with his disciples (6:60-71) and his brothers (7:1-8).
- Note the interpretative comment for 4:16-19 in NISB. Based on your analysis of how 4:1-42 functions within narrative structure of John’s Gospel, do you agree with Gail O’Day’s judgment that John’s account of Jesus and the Samaritan woman “has been consistently misinterpreted”? If this judgment is correct, why is it? Is Jesus’ critique of religious authorities and institutions in John’s Gospel relevant to Christian churches today?
eople’s lives’ (A/56/288ː2), before an interesting comment about volunteering being an ‘ancient social behaviour'(A/56/288ː3). The report outlines opinions of the UN and provides us with a good reference point when critically analysing non-government organisations (NGOs), private volunteer agencies, as well as government funded volunteer organisations. International Volunteering occupies a popular place in contemporary public imaginations in the west, and key shared narrative amongst its supporters is that it has the capacity to positively impact global equity whilst also developing the volunteer’s professional identity (Smith and Laurie, 2011). It’s important to distinguish the differences between each form of international volunteering for development. Peter Devereux outlines six important criteria of its features: humanitarian motivation; reciprocal benefit; living and working under local conditions; long term commitment; local accountability in North-South partnership; and linkages to causes rather than symptoms (Devereux, 2008:360). It is also worth mentioning the differences between international volunteer cooperation organisations (IVCOs) like the British Voluntary Service Organisation (VSO), which are more focused on long-term development, with those organisations sending short-term ‘gap year’ volunteers. It is due to these kinds of projects that the word ‘volunteer’ has been tainted – with IVCOs choosing to distance themselves from the term because of its negative perceptions of un-professionalism and the over emphasis on cultural exchange. In 2006, VSO released a statement warning of the risks of ‘gap-year’ projects, that it might become a new form of colonialism by reinforcing the ‘it’s all about us’ attitude, in that short term ‘helping’ is favoured over teaching or training (Devereux, 2008:359). It’s important to take a look at the commercial organisations which are increasingly being negatively characterised as promoting ‘volunteer tourism’. It allows globally conscious individuals to combine ‘seeing’ with ‘saving’, through different projects which they undertake whilst on holiday (Wearing, 2001). Voluntourism is one of the fastest growing markets in the world (Brown, 2005; Tomazos & Butler, 2010), it’s currently estimated at $1.6 billion (TRAM, 2008). Not only does it provide the volunteer with a chance to experience a new culture, but they will also receive career advancing benefits. Benefits however which come at the expense of those suffering from poverty and the problems inherent to life in the Global South. This form of international volunteering brings about far less long-term benefits for ‘the visited’ and far more extremely negative consequences. By using the US volunteer organisation ELI Abroad (Experiential Learning Inter>GET ANSWER