The Samaritan Woman at the Well - by CARRACCI, Annibale - from Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan
John 4:5-42 (A)
Jesus had to pass through Samaria, and His journey brought Him to a Samaritan town named Shechem near the plot of land which Jacob had given to his son Joseph. This was the site of Jacob's well. Jesus, tired from His journey, sat down at the well. The hour was about noon.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink". (His disciples had gone off to the town to buy provisions.)
The Samaritan woman said to Him, "You are a Jew. How can You ask me, a Samaritan and a woman, for a drink"? (Recall that Jews have nothing to do with Samaritans.)
Jesus replied: "If only you recognized God's gift, and Who it is that is asking you for a drink, you would have asked Him instead, and He would have given you living water".
"Sir", she challenged Him, "You don't have a bucket and this well is deep. Where do You expect to get this flowing water? Surely You don't pretend to be greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well and drank from it with his sons and his flocks"?
Jesus replied: "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water I give him will never be thirsty; no, the water I give shall become a fountain within him, leaping up to provide eternal life".
The woman said to Him, "Give me this water, sir, so that I won't grow thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water".
He told her, "Go, call your husband, and then come back here".
"I have no husband", replied the woman.
"You are right in saying you have no husband"! Jesus exclaimed. "The fact is, you have had five, and the man you are living with now is not your husband. What you said is true enough".
"Sir", answered the woman, "I can see You are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you people claim that Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship God".
Jesus told her: "Believe me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not understand, while we understand what we worship; after all, salvation is from the Jews. Yet an hour is coming, and is already here, when authentic worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and Truth. Indeed, it is just such worshipers the Father seeks. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth".
The woman said to Him: "I know there is a Messiah coming. (This term means Anointed.) When He comes, He will tell us everything".
Jesus replied, "I Who speak to you am He".
His disciples, returning at this point, were surprised that Jesus was speaking with a woman. No one put a question, however, such as "What do you want of Him"? or "Why are You talking with her"?
The woman then left her water jar and went off into the town. She said to the people: "Come and see Someone Who told me everything I ever did! Could this not be the Messiah"? With that they set out from the town to meet Him.
Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, "Rabbi, eat something". But He told them: "I have food to eat of which you do not know".
At this the disciples said to one another, "You do not suppose anyone has brought Him something to eat"?
Jesus explained to them: "Doing the Will of Him Who sent Me and bringing His work to completion is My food. Do you not have a saying: 'Four months more and it will be harvest!'? Listen to what I say: Open your eyes and see! The fields are shining for harvest! The reaper already collects his wages and gathers a yield for eternal life, that Sower and Reaper may rejoice together. Here we have the saying verified: 'One man sows; another reaps.' I sent you to reap what you had not worked for. Others have done the labor, and you have come into their gain".
Many Samaritans from that town believed in Him on the strength of the woman's word of testimony: "He told me everything I ever did". The result was that, when these Samaritans came to Him, they begged Him to stay with them awhile. So He stayed there two days, and through His own spoken word many more came to faith. As they told the woman: "No longer does our faith depend on your story. We have heard for ourselves, and we know that this really is the Savior of the World".
Further Meditations on the
|The Gospel Story of the Woman at the Well is explained by Father Rutler using the religious poem "The Hound of Heaven" by British Catholic Poet Francis Thompson. Jesus goes out of His way to bring the Samaritan Woman and her neighbors (despised by the Jews) to Faith. There is no person, whom God can not bring to Faith, and He will go out of His way to do so. This is an encouraging thought for us Parents today, whose Children have strayed from their Catholic Faith. MP3 recording courtesy EWTN Library.|