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

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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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