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Women of the Bible: The Samaritan Woman

The Samaritan Woman, a Woman Seeking God

The Samaritan woman has no name. We know her in connection with her region, Samaria, through which the Jews do not travel and where the water is considered more impure than the blood of pigs. She has changed her name five times, once for each of her five husbands, but her present infidelity makes her the target of the Jews' prejudice : she is a sinful woman. She comes to the deserted well every day at noon. Jesus waits for her one day in order to ask for the water that is essential to life and to offer her the Source of living water. She resists him as best she can. She wants him to fill guilty for the odious rejection imposed on her people by the Jews. Jesus, however, has already opened a breach in her soul where the thirst for true life is immense. Her habits weigh more and more heavily upon her. As she ages, she can no longer fool herself, pretending they express love. The dryness of these habits burns the very roots of her being!

But far from condemning her, Jesus' Word murmurs in her like a fountain of tenderness. Like the birth of new happiness in the full light of noon. Can this man be the man she has tirelessly sought through these others, the seventh husband : the man of the true covenant? She drinks the living water and quenches her soul's thirst. This is the Messiah! Her intuition had told her so even before he spoke to her. She leaves her jug behind and runs to the villagers, propelled by this burst of life. 'Come and see for yourselves!' She leads them to God immediately. 'Stay with us, Lord,' the Samaritans beseech.

You, the stranger without a name, your thirst encompasses the spiritual quest of all those people that our Church excludes. The Source of living water still draws them in the depths of their weary lives. Jesus is waiting for us to ask them for a drink on his behalf. Help us not condemn their longing for short-lived happiness. And to dare believe that an encounter lasting a mere instant is enough for God to transform the heart of a woman into an apostle's heart burning with love in the Samaria that is our world of today.

Word of God : Jn. 4, 13-19, 25-26 or Jn. 4, 39-42

Céline Comeau, sjsh


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