On this Sunday (03/19/23), the fourth Sunday of the Great Fast, the Church reads John 4:1-42. This passage narrates the interaction between our Lord Jesus Christ and a Samaritan Woman at Jacob’s well. The woman came to fill her jar from the well and the Lord asked her for a drink—this was the start of a conversation that led her to discover His identity as the Messiah and change her life forever.
Because of her shameful reputation, the Samaritan woman went to the well at the brightest time of the day—when she knew that no one else from the village would be at the well. Thus, she was confused as to why Jesus was at the well at that time. Moreover, when Jesus asked her for a drink, she was confused saying, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (John 4:9).
However, as the conversation continues, this confusion turns into hope as Jesus preaches to her salvation through repentance.
Christ tells her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10). She then asks how to obtain this “living water” so that she would never thirst again. As Father Tadros Malaty explains, living water is water that flows continuously like a stream or a river. In a spiritual sense, “living water refers to the Holy Spirit that waters the soul and transforms its bareness into a fruitful paradise.”
Upon accepting the fact that the man speaking with her is the Savior she leaves her water jar, much like the disciples left their nets, and became an effective evangelist to the town of Sychar. Suddenly, all the shame that caused her to hide her face from the public seemed meaningless. The Samaritans heard the woman’s testimony and understood that Jesus was “the Savior of the world.”
As St. Augustine explains, “Having received the Lord Jesus Christ into her heart, what else could she do but abandon her waterpot and run to preach the Gospel? She banished lust and hurried to proclaim the truth. May those who wish to preach the Gospel learn to abandon their waterpot at the well.”
By accepting Christ as her Savior and drinking from the spring of the “Living Water”, the Samaritan Woman repented, turned away from immorality, and directed others to the path of salvation. Likewise, we ask the Lord to immerse us in His living water, bring us into the life of repentance, and walk with us as with share the knowledge of His living water with others, so that all bath in the joy of being with Jesus.
- Bible, English Standard Version
- Commentaries on the Gospel of St. John by Fr. Tadros Malaty