Posts Tagged ‘Samaritan Woman’

The New Testament reading includes the conclusion of Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan Woman at the Well:  St. John 4: 27-30; 39-41 

Of the 4 Gospels, John alone records lengthy conversations the Lord had with several people:  Nicodemus (John 3), the man born blind (John 9), Martha and Mary (John 11).  They show us Jesus’ pastoral approach with people, the time it takes and through His plain words, the deepening of the faith of those people about the identity of Jesus Christ.

In John 4, the deepening faith of those who hear Christ’s Word, is shown in what the Samaritan Woman, and eventually the entire Samaritan town call Jesus:

  • “a Jew”, verse 9
  • “a prophet”, verse 19
  • “the Christ”, verse 29
  • “Savior of the world”, verse 42

All these names and titles are correct, but each, by itself, is insufficient to wholly know Him. This deepening  into  the divine Word about the Lamb of God is into the running fresh water of that Word.  The icon above signifies well what is going on in the Gospels by the portrayal of a cross-shaped well.  The Lord’s cross will be the bucket that draws forth the water of cleansing,deeper and deeper, in the triunity of the Divine love.  It will be in His Resurrection, bearing the marks of the nails, that Thomas will understand the fullness and depth of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father:  “My Lord and my God!” (St.John 20: 28). In Him is the depth of living water that drowns our sin and gives life to thirsty souls. The Samaritan woman’s comment is our prayer, “Sir, give me this water” (vs. 16 )

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Today’s appointed New Testament reading in the daily lectionary is St. John 4: 7-26, a portion  of Jesus’ meeting with the Samaritan Woman at the well. From the Gospel lection:

13 Jesus said to her,“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The following is Martin Luther’s reflection on the Scripture verses above:

The sun is not dimmed and darkened by shining on so many people or by providing the entire world with its light and bright splendor. It retains its light intact. It loses nothing; it is immeasurable, perhaps able to illumine ten more worlds. I suppose that a hundred thousand candles can be ignited from one light, and still this light will not lose any of its brilliance. Likewise, a learned man can educate a thousand scholars without forfeiting any of his own learning. The more he shares with others, the more he has himself. Thus Christ, our Lord, to whom we must flee and of whom we must ask all, is an interminable well, the chief source of all grace, truth, righteousness, wisdom, and life, without limit, measure, or end. Even if the whole world were to draw from this fountain enough grace and truth to transform all people into angels, still it would not lose as much as a drop. This fountain constantly overflows with sheer grace. Whoever wishes to enjoy Christ’s grace — and no one is excluded — let him come and receive it from Him. You will never drain this fountain of living water; it will never run dry. You will all draw from it much more than enough, and yet it will remain a perennial well. 

A reflection on these verses:

“…the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

In John 2, after Jesus cleanses the Temple, the Jews pose a question to the Lord, ““What sign do you show us for doing these things?” (vs. 18)  Jesus then speaks about destroying the Temple and raising it in three days.  He is mocked about His statement, but He was speaking about, “…the temple of His Body” (vs. 21).

St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote in a letter to the Church in Smyrna, on his way to martyrdom, “…where Jesus Christ, there is the catholic Church” (catholic: Greek, literally, “kata holos”,  according to the whole, the whole, complete, universal Church).  The Lord said that where two or three gather together in the my Name, so I shall be (Matthew 18:  20).  The Lord said of the Eucharist, the Holy Communion His palpable presence, This is My Body and This is My Blood.  The Lord commanded and promised Baptism in the Name of the Holy Trinity and where the Lord’s Name is, the Lord said He will be present  (Matthew 28) .  His Body, crucified and risen is the Temple of the Lord as you are built into His Temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20,  1 Peter 2:5).

Mohammed was a religious genius, when he decreed in his made up religion of man-made religious works that Mecca was the holy city that all Muslims should make a pilgrimage if they could, or for someone else to go in their stead, to fulfill the letter of his new laws. Christ Jesus did not decree Jerusalem is the holy city, a Mecca for His Church.  He did not have to because the Lord rose spiritually and bodily so that Jerusalem is present in every congregation throughout the world. “The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered” (The Augsburg Confession, article VII, The Church).

Jesus was no religious genius.  He is true man and true God.  We come to His Church, His Body (cf. 1 Corinthians 12) for the Gospel of the spring of water welling up to eternal life, which Mohammed could not give in a million lives.  Christ is our Mecca, our Jerusalem, and ever more:  the LORD (St. John 20:  18 and 28;  Philippians 2: 5-11). We come thirsty and hungry, because of sin and sorrow, to Christ, the only-begotten Son of the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God.  We come to the perennial well  of the Gospel.  Mohammed said in essence, ‘Come to my religion and I will burdened you further with religious rules and regs’. Mohammed could never say:

 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (St. Matthew 11)


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FWIW, I think the Lenten Gospel readings for this year (year A of the 3 year lectionary), are an embarrassment of the riches of Scripture because of the length of,  and the personal and public conversations that each episode reports between Jesus and the individuals in the narrative…and those riches we actually need. The Gospel readings for the remainder of the Sundays in Lent are:

  • Lent 2, St. John 3: 1—17: Jesus and Nicodemus
  • Lent 3, St. John 4:  5—42: Jesus and the Samaritan Woman
  • Lent 4, St. John 9: 1-42:  Jesus and the Man born Blind
  • Lent 5, St.  John 11: 1—45:  Jesus and Lazarus

In other words: 

  • St. John 3: 1—17: Jesus and a Proud Man
  • St. John 4:  5—42: Jesus and a Heretical and Adulterous Woman
  • St. John 9: 1-42:  Jesus and a Blind Man
  • St.  John 11: 1—45:  Jesus and a Dead Man

There surely seems to be downward trajectory of the persons involved:  from pride to heresy/adultery to blindness to death,  and that’s the way of it in Adam and Jesus is going downward every step of the way with them and for them, and He will take them up from His tomb, every step of the way:

Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs
Bestowing life!                                                                                      
(Paschal Troparion in the Orthodox Church)

Yes, these are conversations between Jesus with many people involved, however, looking ahead in hope in Christ Jesus, the series is not complete:

  • Lent 2, St. John 3: 1—17: Jesus and a Proud Man
  • Lent 3, St. John 4:  5—42: Jesus and a Heretical and Adulterous Woman
  • Lent 4, St. John 9: 1-42:  Jesus and a Blind Man
  • Lent 5, St.  John 11: 1—45:  Jesus and a Dead Man
  • Every Day of the Year, All Scripture, in His Church:  Jesus and YOU!

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(Jesus says) “If you wish that I give you the streams of pure water,

Go, and call your husband; I shall not imitate your reproach;

I shall not say:  “You are a woman of Samaria,

And how is it you ask for water?”  I do not increase your thirst; for I have

brought you to thirst through thirst.

I exaggerated being thirsty and I was tormented by thirst

In order that I might reveal

you as thirsty—

Go, then and call your husband and return.  The woman said, “I think that I have

No husband,” and the Creator said to her:

“Truly do you have none?  You have five, the sixth you do not possess,’

So that you may receive

Exceeding great joy and redemption.”

O wise enigmas!  O wise characteristics!  In the faith of the woman is pictured

All the features of the church in true colors

which do not grow old, for the way in which a the woman denied husband when she had many,

is just the way church denied many gods, like husbands,

and left them and became betrothed

to one Master in coming forth from the water.

She had five husbands and sixth she did not have, and leaving the five

husbands of impiety, she now takes Thee, as the sixth, as she comes

from the water

Exceeding great joy and redemption…

The espoused church of the nations, then, left these things,

and she hurries to the well of

the baptismal font

And denies the things of the past, just as the woman of Samaria did;

for she did not conceal what had formerly been true from Him who knows all in


But she said, “Even if I formerly had husbands, I do not know wish to have

these husbands which I did have; for I know possess Thee who has now taken me in

Thy net;

And I am by faith rescued from the filth of my sins

That I have receive

Exceeding joy and redemption.”

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