No other nation has more national month-long observations than the United States of America. Of the twelve months in the year, only August has no reserved day, week, or month. All others have between two and 15 designations. March has five—one of which was designated by Congress in 1987 as Women’s History Month. Generally, I seized this opportunity to recognize women such as Sojourner Truth who protested against human enslavement and trafficking, and Irene Morgan Kirkaldy, an Adventist hero. In 1944, long before Rosa Parks, Kirkaldy broke the discrimination and segregation law in Virginia and won her civil rights case in the U.S. Supreme Court. But I’ve been inspired to dedicate this, my final column written in March 2023, to an anonymous woman whose inclination for truth-telling changed the world for the Christian church when she declared in John 4:17: “I have no husband!”
Let me assure you that inasmuch as I am a single woman, this is not about my marital status or lack thereof. Neither is it about women who are desperately searching for a man to make them happy or about those well-meaning married folks who think it’s their mission or ministry to be marriage/dating brokers for singles. Many of us single adults are content being on our own with certain priorities while enjoying the single life.
This is a tribute to all women—single and married, young and old—who have changed and contributed to the lives of all people. In the scripture mentioned, notice that John reports the name of the region, town, time of day, and whereabouts of Jesus’ disciples. Yet there is no name of the woman. Why? Perhaps to protect her privacy and hide her identity so she could live a normal life; to preserve her identity, especially since aspects of her very intimate, personal life were revealed and recorded for posterity. Maybe she was deliberately left nameless so that those in every generation of sinners thereafter, can see themselves more clearly and find grace at the well where Jesus is still earnestly waiting to change lives.
Notice that of all the good, upright-living women who followed the customs or culture of the day by going to the well early in the morning, it was the disreputable, maligned, mistreated, seemingly lost, and suffering Samaritan woman for whom Jesus waited to meet at noon. Why? Because His mission is to seek and save the lost as is written in Mark 2:17: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
The Samaritan woman’s case was severe, urgent, and desperately in need of divine assistance, for she, at her young age, already had five husbands and one live-in-lover. She was dissatisfied with life and intimate human relationships and was at the well at noon looking for love, forgiveness, and acceptance.
Some people have had five such husbands. One could metaphorically refer to them as Prestige, Power, Profession, Possessions, and Prosperity—all dressed in sheep’s clothing, but still wolves with fraudulent forces. Others are still living with number six—Finance, the one who will not commit to marriage. He promised a life without want and you praised God for sending this sixth chance at happiness, but after much time his meager provisions left your life in big debt.
We, like the Samaritan woman, are anxiously seeking, waiting, and anticipating the coming of the seventh One who is God in human flesh. The prophet Isaiah described Him in chapter 54:5 saying: “For your Maker is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.”
Until we surrender our heart, soul, mind, and life to Him, I, you, we, have no husband!
Hyveth Williams is a professor at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University.