On this Sunday when we continue to celebrate the Lord Risen from the dead, the Church established that we remember the Samaritan Woman with whom the Lord Jesus spoke at Jacob’s Well. This passage from the Holy Evangelist John leaves us with many questions.
Why did Jesus stay behind by Jacob’s Well instead of going into the city for food with His disciples? Why was Jesus, a Jew, speaking with a Samaritan? The Jews didn’t have any dealings with the Samaritans. Why was Jesus, a man, speaking with a woman? This wasn’t typical, and moreover he was having a conversation with her, not just speaking AT her. Why was Jesus asking this Samaritan Woman about her husband? They, why did He point out her sins?
After Jesus reveals Himself to the Samaritan Woman as the Christ, the Messiah, she leaves her water jar and goes back into the city. Why did she leave her water jar behind? And there are many other such questions that we can ask of this passage.
But all these questions are answered as we pay attention to the words of Jesus Christ to Samaritan Woman at first, then to His Disciples. The Lord Jesus Christ chooses to speak plainly and clearly, revealing Himself as the Messiah that both Jews and Samaritans were waiting for. He revealed Himself as their Savior and Deliverer, although they don’t fully understand it yet. Jesus appears to be thirsty and hungry yet when He is offered water and food He doesn’t accept them, instead He teaches them of the water and food that provide nourishment for the soul. He, Himself, and His teachings are the life-giving food and drink that we desire for even more than material food and drink which nourish the body. The nourishment of the body remains in our attention but we no longer place these basics before the nourishment of the soul. In some ways I think this gospel reading is truly just a lesson in prioritization in our lives.
The Samaritan Woman comes to Jacob’s Well to get water, this was most likely a mundane daily chore, like so many other mundane chores that occupy our complete attention. We’ve all heard the expression: “Can’t see the forest for the trees.” which implies that we are so focused on small individual details that we miss out on the big picture, the totality of life. The Samaritan Woman probably realized that very truth in her own life. But once she realized that she can receive life-giving water that sanctifies her entire being she leaves behind the water jar. She leaves behind the attention to the temporary aspects of life and goes to bring her neighbors and friends so that they also learn about the source of life-giving nourishment. This is indeed the lesson, my dear friends, we must leave behind the attention to the banality of our lives; those things that bog us down and hold us back from seeing the core of our value in the eyes of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.