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Water Carrier


And [Jesus] sent two of his disciples, and said to them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the householder, 'The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I am to eat the passover with my disciples?' And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us." And the diciples set out and went to the city, and found it as he had told them; and they prepared the passover. (Mark 14:13-16, RSV)


Many characters in the Bible come alive as our spiritual ancestors - and as my friend George suggested, as our "trans-cestors."

And at the heart of it all you can find a gender variant water carrier who finds the upper room for the last supper. The disciples were asked by Jesus to look for a male water carrier - this seemingly insignificant fact has transformed the heart of my faith. Water carrying was traditionally a job done by women. So a male water carrier would be easy to spot in the crowds by the well on the day in Jerusalem, at Passover. In the throng the disciples looked for a male water carrier. This is amazing in and of itself. But then take a moment to think why this man might be a water carrier, why he might have a traditional female job. Could he have chosen this job because he felt more comfortable with a female role? Perhaps he identified himself as female? Or perhaps he used to identify himself as female, but now lives as male.

Just maybe the water carrier is a transgender person right at the heart of the story, which we do not even notice. Could he be a male-to-female person or a female-to-male person or an intersex person? It is speculative, but it is also not beyond the bounds of possibilities that this is one of our spiritual ancestors. Someone Jesus trusted enough to find them a place to gather at this busy time . . . That very time when what is now communion was instigated - by body and the blood - that most intimate of meals that brings us into the most intimate communion with Jesus. It is our bodies that bring us into communion with each other. (Lewis Christopher Payne. The Body: Site for the Divine. Transgendering Faith: Identity, Sexuality, and Spirituality. p89)

See Also

Transfigurations--Transgressing Gender in the Bible - A theatrical exploration of gender variant people in the Scriptures, including the water carrier
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