cappie Posted March 11 Share Posted March 11 The Gospel reading, we have heard today, the story of the Samaritan Woman or the Woman at the Well from St John, is a description of a moment in the life of Jesus. In fact, this passage contains the longest conversation with Jesus recorded in the Bible. It is extraordinary that this conversation occurs with a woman, a Samaritan woman, drawing water at the well in the heat of the day. Jesus and his disciples are making a journey on foot, walking from Jerusalem to Galilee, taking the shorter route through Samaria. When the disciples go into the city to buy food, Jesus waits by the Well of Jacob. A woman approaches with her water jar, normally they would not speak to one another. But Jesus is thirsty, and He asks for a drink. Jesus and the woman engage in spiritual dialogue that is both metaphoric and literal. “I can give you living water,” he says. Taking living water in its literal sense, she responds. “How? You have no bucket; the well is deep.” Jesus replies with poetry: “anyone who drinks the water that I shall give will never be thirsty again:.” Her comeback is spirited, and somewhat sarcastic: “ Sir, give me some of that water, so that I may never get thirsty and never have to come here again to draw water.” Jesus sets the trap. “Go, call your husband.” And when she says, “I have no husband,” and he counters, “You have had five husbands,” the woman responds, “Sir, I see you are a prophet,” and engages him in discussion of worship. “I know the Messiah is coming,” she says with confidence. Again, Jesus brings her up short. “I who am speaking to you, I am he.,” he declares. The Samaritan woman realizes that she has had an experience of God there at the well. She leaves her water jar behind. She gathers her neighbours – “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done!” – and many come to believe that Jesus is truly the saviour of the world. But what about the time of day? Unlike Nicodemus, who came to Jesus by night, in the darkness of disbelief, the Samaritan woman is an example of a faithful woman. She comes at noon – in daylight – because daylight signifies faith. Jesus sees her – “You’ve had five husbands” – and she in turn sees him for what he is, prophet and Messiah. Having had this theophany, this revelatory experience of God, the Samaritan woman goes on to become an enthusiastic evangelist, a witness to the transforming power of faith. She uses her voice and her experience to gather more believers to Jesus. “Come and see,” she says to the people of the city. While at first, they are convinced because of her testimony, she invites them to experience Jesus for themselves. It can be no accident that John chooses the Samaritan woman as the protagonist in the longest recorded conversation with Jesus. The Samaritan woman is a dynamic character, energized by her meeting with a stranger at the well at midday. In the passage from Romans, Paul writes of suffering that produces endurance, endurance that produces character, and character that produces hope. By her faith, her willingness to engage in spiritual dialogue and to believe in the abundant life that Jesus offers her, the woman at the well emerges from the image of thirsty, careworn outcast to hopeful evangelist. As Paul affirms, “Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). Salvation springs from relationship with God; it is never bound by any particular deed, creed or ritual. Salvation happens when we attend to God's thirst and respond with personal hospitality. The Samaritan woman is a shining example of faith, of spiritual questioning, of experiencing the powerful presence of God. She is a voice of evangelism and witness. She might join the ranks of other faithful women who speak in the New Testament: Elizabeth, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Mary and Martha of Bethany, and Lydia of Philippi. Once we have been affected by a relationship with God, it automatically begins to flow into all our other relationships, making us not just believers, but almost irresistible evangelizers. BarbTherese 1 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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