Jesus’ encounter with the samaritan woman at Jacob’s well.
In today’s scripture reading, let us reflect on the meeting of Jesus with the Samaritan Woman at the well of Sichar. Jesus, tired from his long distance walk, sat down to rest by Jacob’s well, having sent his disciples ahead to make the necessary arrangements/purchases for overnight accomodations in town. Along came the Samaritan Woman carrying her bucket, prepared to draw water for her household.
Addressing her, Jesus asks for a favor. “Give me a drink,” he says to her. “How can you, a Jew, ask me a Samaritan, for a drink, for Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans”, she replied.” “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ’Give me a drink’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water,” Jesus said in reply. “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water that I shall give will never thirst; The water that I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life,” adds Jesus.
“Sir, give me this water,” says the woman, “so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
Changing the subject, Jesus leads the woman away from self-focus and personal comfort toward her inner journey. Going deeper, he says: “Go, call your husband and come back.”
Confessing that she had no husband, Jesus enables her focus on her reality of having had five husbands. At this point, the realization of Jesus’ identity becomes clear to her and she says: “I see you are a prophet” and as he further proclaimed his Father’s wish to be worshipped in Spirit and in Truth, and not necessarily on this mountain or in Jerusalem, she concluded that he must be the ‘forerunner’ of the Messiah.
At this point, Jesus revealed: “I am he, the one speaking with you.” Abandoning her ‘water jar’, the woman headed for town to tell the good news to everyone: “Come, see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Christ?”
From a life of immorality to a life of Gospel proclamation, the Samaritan woman teaches us how “to hear the Word of God” and keep it. She was open to the “gift of God” in her conversion experience and began her inner journey, drinking in the Water of Life-“The water that I will give will become a spring of eternal life.” (John 4: 5-42)
Header picture: Jesus and the Samaritan Woman, ca. 1585, Paolo Veronese.