By Robert Cloos
We all have heard the story of the Good Samaritan, which uses the words, “He was moved with compassion.” And we’ve heard the story of the 10 lepers Jesus cured — the only one to come back to thank him was a Samaritan.
This Sunday we will hear of the story of Jesus who meets a Samaritan woman at the well and tells of her conversion. The Gospel tells us that “Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.” Now the woman at the well was not only a Samaritan, and a woman who was not to speak publically with a man, she was also living with a man who was not her husband. Because of her lifestyle, she was even shunned by her community.
When she met Jesus, instead of covering her face and running, she decided to stay. When Jesus asked her for a drink, she replied sarcastically, “How can you a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman for a drink?” Jesus responded, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living waters.” Some say that the “living waters” refers to the Holy Spirit, but the Samaritan woman still did not understand. Sensing this, Jesus proves to her the reality of what he promises by properly recounting to her his knowledge of her unlawful marital status. Now her heart is stirred and she recognizes that Jesus is a prophet. She says she knows the Messiah is coming and when he comes, he will tell the people everything. When Jesus says, “I am he, the one speaking to you,” her heart is on fire, she runs back to her community to tell everyone of Jesus and does not care how she will be received.
We know who Christ is, the Son of the Living God, who wants to fill us with the Holy Spirit, yet we continue to return to the stagnant well of earthly things where we are satisfied for a short time and then go back for something new which will leave us thirsty again. Whether we seek wealth, power, or honor there will always remain a void in our life that only God can fill and until we allow God to fill that void, we will remain incomplete.
Scripture does not tell us what happened with the Samaritan woman’s life after her encounter with Jesus, but tradition tell us that she became Christian who was martyred at the hand of Nero. In Russian Svetlana, the feast day of Martyress Photina is commemorated March 20 in honor of the same woman who spoke to Jesus at Jacob’s well.
Every morning when I turn on my computer, my screen has these words given to us by St. Theresa: “Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. All things are passing away. God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Whoever has God lacks nothing. God alone suffices.” With these words I start my day with a smile.
(Robert Cloos is a seminarian for the Diocese of Davenport.)