Original Research

Dancing with Jesus as the incarnate male ‘missionary’ conversant: A homeless group’s reading of John 4 in dealing with gender-based violence

Eugene Baron
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 40, No 1 | a1912 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v40i1.1912 | © 2019 Eugene Baron | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 July 2018 | Published: 27 February 2019

About the author(s)

Eugene Baron, Department of Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology, University of South Africa, South Africa


In this article, the metaphor of dancing is used to discuss the skewed gender relations in society as a result of the various interpretations available in terms of the narrative of Jesus and the Samaritan woman (Jn 4). The question explored is the following: how scholarly interpreters of the Bible and the homeless people describe this ‘dancing’, that is, the human movements between the male and female conversation partners? The author uses the ‘woman-friendly’ interpretations of various theologians on the John 4:1–42 narrative and juxtaposes it against other theologians’ interpretations. Furthermore, the author discusses how a homeless group in the City of Tshwane reflects on and interprets the text. The article builds on the premise that biblical texts like John 4:1–42 – which are interpreted in a way that sustains patriarchy – serve as the cause for gender-based violence. Therefore, although the article does not refer directly to the issue of gender-based violence, it is contributing to ‘woman-friendly’ interpretations of Biblical texts to counter patriarchal tendencies in society.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This is interdisciplinary study as it integrates gender-based violence in the field of sociology, public theology, feminist ethics with missiology. It is also integrating the field of biblical hermeneutics with missiology in terms of a specific biblical text namely Jn. 4 that is analysed.


gender-based violence; homeless people; John 4:1–42; patriarchy; City of Tshwane; mission


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