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!"
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."
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".
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
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
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
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
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
We also learn that To everything there is a
season, A time for every purpose under heaven
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
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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