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The story of the Samaritan


One of the Great Lent's Sundays is: The Samaritan Sunday, which tells us one of the stories of salvation…


The Stories of Salvation:

Stories of Salvation are of different kinds: one of which is when the sinner comes to the Lord, as in the Parable of the lost son, who came home repenting and saying: "I have sinned against

heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy

to be called your son…" (Lk 15:21). And The

Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector who

went up to the temple, standing afar off beating his

breast, saying, "God, be merciful to me a sinner!"

(Lk 18:13).

There is another kind of the stories of salvation,

when God comes to the sinner: like the bride of

the Song of Solomon whom He came to her,

knocked at her door saying:" Open for me …" (Sgs

5:2). Also what the Lord said in the Revelation "I

stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My

voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and

dine with him, and he with Me…" (Rv 3:20).

􀂙 In the stories of salvation, "Response" is a

factor which becomes conditional, if God is

the One who comes to him, or if God shows him

the way, or if he is the one who comes to God.

In the story of the Rich Young Ruler: he is the

one who came to the Lord asking Him about the

way to salvation. When God told him" Go, sell

what you have and give to the poor" he couldn't

respond, "he went away sorrowful."

􀂙 And the bride of the Song of Solomon, when

God put his hand by the latch of the door, she

didn't respond to him so He turned away and

was gone. She said:" My heart leaped up when

he spoke. I sought him, but I could not find

him; I called him, but he gave me no answer."

(Sgs 5:6).

􀂙 In the story of Zacchaeus' salvation, his own

will came along with God's will. He wanted to

see The Christ, and Jesus told him:" Zacchaeus,

make haste and come down, for today I must

stay at your house". God entered his house and

said: "Today salvation has come to this house".

(Lk 19:2-9).

􀂙 God desires all men to be saved (1Tm 2:4).

But the most important thing is that the

will of man would accord with that of


"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to

save that which was lost" (Lk 19:10). But they,

whom He came to save, should accept His

salvation. We say at the end of every prayer of the

Agpeya, the Book of Hours:" who calls all to salvation

for the promise of the blessings to come". But it was

also said that "Many are called, but few chosen" (Mt


􀂙 The story of salvation called upon Sodom, but Lot's

sons-in-law didn't respond, it was said:" to his sonsin-

law he seemed to be joking". (Gn 19:14). And no

one of Sodom was rescued except Lot and his two


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

The Samaritan:

This woman lived in sin with five men. The Lord

knew and kept silent. People of the city of Samaria have

been worshipping idols since Jeroboam's separated from

Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, and made two calves of

gold saying about them "Here are your gods, O Israel,

which brought you up from the land of Egypt!" (1K

12:28). God then was beholding and listening…endured

and was patient; Till the time came to call on the

Samaritan woman, and to visit the people of the city of

Samaria. Just as when the time of visitation of the

Communists came after seventy years of Atheism

during the era of Lenin, Stalin and Others…when they,

at the end, came back to their faith.

So, God comes at a particular time to visit

those who are living in sin.

He thirsts for their salvation, as we tell him in the

Psalm:" My soul thirsts for You" (Ps 63:1). That is why

He rightly said to the Samaritan "Give Me a drink." (Jn

4:7). He definitely didn't mean to drink from that water,

which actually didn't happen.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Those whom God visits them, His visitation

become a turning point in their life.

It was a turning point, through which the lives of

them all were changed to a better one. Indeed, it was a

turning point for the Samaritan woman and for the

people of the city of Samaria. It was also a turning

point for Mary Magdalene, to Zacchaeus the tax

collector and to Nicodemus. And was a remarkable

turning point for Saul of Tarsus, who immediately

responded and said:" Lord, what do You want me to

do?" (Acts 9:6).

􀂙 Amazingly, there were powerful and effective

personalities in history and in the Bible, whom if

they had been attracted to Christianity and to the

spiritual path; they would have became a great gain

and a cause of blessing,. Like Saul of Tarsus, and

some pagan philosophers who were turned into

Christian philosophers. Also Saint Ignatius who,


when attracted to Christianity, became a deep

spring of spirituals for many generations.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Back to the Samaritan woman, we say that she

was an amazing and strong woman regarding her

influence. She was able to attract five men, who lived

with her in sin, then, when she wanted, she threw

them out, and they returned to their homes. Only one

was left, whom she un-doubtfully kicked him out after

her meeting with Jesus Christ.

In spite of her sin, she knew several

religious subjects:

She knew the story of Jacob's well, the dispute

amongst the Jews and the Samaritans, and the

conflict around worshiping on the mountain in

Jerusalem or on the mountain in the city of Samaria.

She also knew that "Messiah is coming (who is called

Christ) When He comes, He will tell us all things." (Jn

4:9, 13, 20, 25). Knowing this, she was that kind of a

person who argues and likes to know the truth.

She had the courage to argue with Jesus

Christ himself:

How comes that You, being a Jew, talk to me and

I am a Samaritan woman?! May be you are not

following your people's traditions. And how can you

say that you can give me water which I can ask from

you, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is

deep?! Are you greater than our father Jacob, who

gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as

his sons and his livestock?!

The Samaritan woman, in spite of her sin,

responded to the spiritual work.

When God revealed her life for her, she said "Sir,

I perceive that You are a prophet" (Jn 4:19). And

when He talked to her about the living water, she said

"Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst". And

when He revealed Himself to her, she then left her

water pot and went to annunciate her people saying

"Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever

did. Could this be the Christ…?"

Veneration of God overwhelmed her during His

conversation with her; she was calling Him "Sir". He

was a man who wasn't like any of the men she knew.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Jesus Christ, step by step went through the

conversation with her… and gradually she

began to know Him.

He was talking to her so gently, without hurting

her feelings at all, despite He knew all her sins…He

didn't at all talk to her about repentance, He didn't

rebuke the woman for her bad reputation. On the

contrary He talked to her in a positive way about the

Living Water which whoever drinks of the water that I

shall give him will never thirst….He also talked to her

about worshipping God in spirit and truth…He didn't

answer her question: Are You greater than our father

Jacob? There are questions which not answering them

is better… Jesus Christ was of the descendants of our

father Jacob; He didn't reply and said "yes, I am". He

left her to understand later on…

Concerning her question about Him, being a Jew

and her as a Samaritan and that Jews had no

dealings with Samaritans…His answer was clear in His

mind: I came to reconcile the Jews with the

Samaritans, and I will also reconcile the Jews with

the Nations. And if the Samaritans had sinned and

worshipped the idols, the Jews also sinned…"For the

Son of Man has come to save that which was

lost". God didn't explain all this to her, because she

wouldn't have been able to understand all that at the

time. And regarding reconciliation, it was then enough

that he, as a Jew, was talking to her when she was a

Samaritan…this was the first indication of the


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

He said to her: "If you knew the gift of God,

and who it is who says to you, "Give Me a drink,'

you would have asked Him, and He would have

given you living water..."

She grasped at the phrase of giving her water,

and how this could have been? And to whether it was

possible for her to have the living water, she forgot

the phrase which said: If you knew who it is who says

to you..?

Well, she would know who she was talking to,

later on. She will identify Him through the

conversation. She wanted the living water, of which

whoever drinks, will never thirst…but drinking from

this living water, needed that her private life should

be changed. At that point, Jesus had to bring up the

issue of her private life…

He didn't say to her: you don't deserve to

drink from the living water.

Instead, He commenced with her in an easy

way, telling her Go, call your husband.

He left the answer to her saying "I have no

husband ". Which was her first confession…since she

had no husband, then whom she was living with was

not her husband…which meant that she was living

with him in sin.

Jesus Christ considered her answer as a sign

which was good enough, and praised her for that,

saying "You have well said, "I have no husband ".

Then He went on saying what she herself couldn't

say: "for you have had five husbands and the one

whom you now have is not your husband". He

concluded all that with the phrase "in that you spoke

truly" which is another word of praise…although she

didn't say anything…may be she was giving him

gestures in a way or another by which she meant


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Jesus Christ, in His conversation with the

Samaritan, presents to Priests a gentle way of

having a confession.

Some priests, they are like squeezing the

confessor to say everything, even in the first

confession!! So the confessor is negatively affected by

this compulsion or pressure, and wishes that he

would have never came to confess.

Or may be a woman comes to a Priest and

confesses, with such shame, that she fell into sin, and

although what she says is understandable enough, he

embarrasses and hurts her asking "what sin?" and

tries to go into tiring details. This woman walks out

insisting of not coming back once more for this


Would priests practice the gentle way of having

confessions: tenderly, without hurting the confessor's

feelings, realizing that throughout confession, likewise

any virtue, a person grows. And he might not be able

to say everything at once, but gradually and by time,

he can. And later on he can say the things which he

couldn't utter it before…


Jesus Christ's gentleness when helping the

Samaritan woman to confess made her says to Him

"Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet". And also to

tell her people afterwards about Him "told me all

things that I ever did", and not, "told him all things

that I ever did ".

He was, in his conversation with her, seeking her

salvation, not looking for embarrassing her.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

But after she told him "I perceive that You

are a prophet" she had two questions:

The first question was about the place where

they ought to worship: whether it was on the

mountain of Jerusalem as the Jews thought or on the

mountain of the city of Samaria as the Samaritans

thought? It is a ritual question.

While Jesus Christ was with her, He gave her the

answer in a positive way, without coming near the

issue of the sanctity of the mountain of her

country…and said to her "God is Spirit, and those who

worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" "for the

Father is seeking such to worship Him"…

The person, who was talking to her, was not

fanatic towards the mountain of Jerusalem, Despite

the fact that he was a Jew. He said "Woman, believe

Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this

mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father".

And the woman was relieved on hearing this

answer. But still she had a second question:

She said: " I know that Messiah is coming

(who is called Christ) When He comes, He will tell us

all things". Hence the Master revealed Himself to her

saying "I who speak to you am He" (Jn 4:25,

26)…exactly as when the Man Born Blind asked Him

about the Son of God: "Who is He, Lord, that I may

believe in Him?" And Jesus said to him, "You have

both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.""

(Jn 9:36, 37). That was when Christ revealed Himself,

as when He did with the Samaritan…

That revelation had such an amazing impact

on the Samaritan's heart, as she "left her water

pot and went her way into the city, and said to the

men, "Come, see a Man who told me all things that I

ever did. Could this be the Christ?"

Accordingly, she was not only transformed from a

sinner to a believer but moreover she was also turned

to a preacher…God's conversation had such an

influence on her.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

After that, Jesus Christ went to the city of those

Samaritans, and stayed there for two days, where

many more believed because of His own word. And

they said:" Now we believe, we ourselves have heard

Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the

Savior of the world." (Jn 4:41).

His story with the Samaritan woman and the

Samaritans gives us an idea about how not to

despise the sinners and the lost. Christ said

"Those who are well have no need of a physician, but

those who are sick. For I did not come to call the

righteous, but sinners, to repentance." (Mt9:12, 13).

So, it is not appropriate that anyone should feel

superior to a sinner. He'd rather guide him to God's

path "let him know that he who turns a sinner from

the error of his way will save a soul from death and

cover a multitude of sins" (Jms5:20).

And if he couldn't, so he should at least pray for

him, and never despise him…

We can also learn, from the story of the

Samaritan woman, how can we talk to even the

worst sinners: the gentle way by which we can win

souls to the kingdom as "he who wins souls is wise".

And also the fathers of confession could learn how to

have confessions.

We also learn that To everything there is a

season, A time for every purpose under heaven

(Ec 3:1).

For the salvation of the Samaritan woman and the

Samaritans there is a time, for putting an end to the

Communism and Atheism there is a time, there is a

time also for accepting the Nations, and never give up

on anyone.

Here is God saying that the fields are already

white for harvest, which means that harvest time has

come, that's which God's grace prepared , to reap

that for which we have not labored (Jn 4:38).

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