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Reflection on the woman at the well

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Throughout the gospels in the New Testament, there are many stories about encounters between Jesus and seemingly random people. I often study these scriptures and sometimes, commentaries in an attempt to extract meaning from these brief exchanges. One of the encounters is between Jesus and a Samaritan woman, who is often referred to as the woman at the well. The disciples seem to have disappeared for a while and so Jesus goes to the well by himself to get a drink of water. There he encounters a woman with whom he has an unusual conversation. She seems to know a lot about spiritual practices and beliefs, including the promise of a Messiah.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: The Chosen Jesus and the Samaritan Woman At The Well

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The Samaritan Woman

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Whoever owns the well is a keeper of life; whoever has access to the well has admittance to new life. Like pubs and coffee houses, wells were natural gathering places, where news would be exchanged and the latest gossip gathered; they were also associated with romantic relationships. The evangelist calls a number of witnesses to the stand, John the Baptist being the first witness to testify.

John is not the only witness called to give evidence in this courtroom. The woman of Samaria testifies from her own experience. She speaks out of the authority of her own experience: she is not sharing her thinking or her ideas, but her experience. To speak about Jesus she consults her own story, not a book, not a scholar and not a school of thought. The jury must decide whether she is worthy of belief and accept or reject her testimony.

Evidence comes also from:. Jesus bears witness to what he knows and has seen The evangelist John is taking a mighty risk in presenting this woman as a witness - not only because across the ancient world the word of a woman was not accepted as valid testimony, but because the word of this particular woman, given her moral background, would not secure automatic respect from anyone.

Yet the extraordinary thing is that the evangelist includes her in his gathering of witnesses, a measure of his confidence in a woman who has already won over a town by the strength of her testimony.

They can proclaim: What we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you.

Anyone who has experience can, if they reflect on it, become a witness. Those who had experience of new life in the Gospel converted their experience into a message. They described what happened: their experience became a story, opening up new possibilities for others. Their experience is not just a personal story of change; it leads them to make claims about Jesus. Given what happened to me, who then is he? What does my experience say about him?

John underlines the role of experience in understanding Jesus; the pastoral purpose of this is to bring people into a community of faith. Jesus shared his dreams with those who knew him, hoping their relationship with him would become Gospel. The Gospel begins when we have a living relationship with Jesus.

It is thus that the Gospel is preached, thus the tradition is handed over, thus the community grows in faith. Jesus waits alone at the well of Jacob, in Samaria; a lone woman from the district arrives, to collect water, and when Jesus asks her for a drink she reminds him why they should not be relating. Jesus persists, gradually questioning the woman while at the same time revealing himself to her. Two revelations meet at the well.

Her testimony is effective, leading the townspeople to meet Jesus for themselves, and many come to believe in him. Questions for reflection. Jesus, weary from his journey as he passes through Samaria on his way north to Galilee, has a midday break and sits down by a well near the ancient town of Shechem. When a Samaritan woman comes to draw water, he asks her for a drink: he is not only tired but also thirsty. It would have been regarded as inappropriate for Jesus, a solitary man, to engage a solitary woman in conversation—a point that is made when his own disciples return to find them together and are shocked at what they see.

Jesus seems unconcerned about infringing the rules of propriety: out of his need, he opens the conversation with this woman. Thirst knows no boundaries, submits to no cultural custom and makes no deference to political or religious affiliations. Thirst is a body yearning for a drink, no matter who you are. Rather than attend to the obvious—a thirsty man is beside her at a well and she has a water jar—she points out that they should not be speaking to one another because of the barrier of racial and religious difference.

Sometimes raw human need becomes irrelevant beside the sheer weight of inherited prejudice; sometimes ethnic difference blinds people to the humanity of others and their neediness. And this is not just still water from a well or cistern but living water. The woman notices that Jesus has no container with which to draw water from this deep well, so where will this living water come from? It was their shared ancestor Jacob, after all, who provided this well for his people: is this Jewish stranger greater than Jacob?

Misunderstanding Jesus, the woman asks for this water, to save her from thirst and from the inconvenience of travelling out to the well at such a time, midday, one that marked her out as excluded and marginalised from her own community—no one is with her at the well.

The conversation moves to a new level, focusing on her identity, when Jesus invites the woman to call her husband to join them. When she replies that she has no husband, Jesus then says that she is right, since she has had five husbands and the man she currently lives with is not her husband. But her instinct is to move away from the present topic—the arithmetic of her lovers—and focus on something less personal and troublesome,. She selects a new topic - liturgical architecture.

Concentrating on difference once again, she points out that her ancestors worshipped in the temple on Mount Gerizim while the Jews hold that the proper place to worship is in the temple in Jerusalem; she wonders which place wins out.

Samaritans had built their own temple on Mount Gerizim, a fact that provoked deep antagonism from the Jerusalem clergy. If the temple was the house of God, there could only be one such house on earth. Which temple was the proper place to worship God? Neither place, says Jesus, for the hour is approaching when true worship of the Father will be in spirit and truth. Jesus returns to truth, something the woman has wanted to avoid, for how can you worship God if you avoid the truth?

Worship is not about proper liturgical architecture; it is not about worshipping at the right address; it is not even about worshipping with the right crowd.

It is about worshipping in spirit and truth. Jesus will define himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life. God has sent his living Word among us: it is through this Word that we can come to know God in spirit and in truth.

Through Jesus, the way is outlined, the truth is revealed and the life enlivens; through Jesus, all worship will be directed in the Spirit to the Father. We are no longer talking about buildings or architecture or animal sacrifice: true worship will be through a living body, the Word made flesh, in the person of Jesus. When the disciples return they have their own questions about their master speaking to a woman, but they say nothing, thinking the questions only to themselves.

Meanwhile the woman leaves her water jar, a useless object, at the feet of Jesus and hurries back to the town. She defines this man in terms of truth, one who told her all she ever did, adding the question: Can this be the Christ?

Imagine yourself as the person in the painting, in the cafe in Alabama when Jesus of Alabama enters:. Summary Jesus waits alone at the well of Jacob, in Samaria; a lone woman from the district arrives, to collect water, and when Jesus asks her for a drink she reminds him why they should not be relating.

So there you are, eyes cast down looking into your cup, foraging for a pattern in what is left, as if your cup were a deep well that might reveal to you your fortune or fate. After all, time is something to be endured.

Each sip - you have measured them, I know, fourteen to the cup - is like a slow deliberate Station of the cross, heading unmistakably for the exit. You hate it when the cup is empty and your devotions are ended and you have to rise and go back.

Was it T S Elliot who wrote that line? I have measured out my life with coffee spoons. The owner of the cafe, Harry himself, is kind: he never hurries you or bothers you; never fusses.

By now he knows that you come here to be alone, the only regular on a Friday night, to his cafe, to drink the longest cup of tea in the world. He stays out of the picture, happy to be of some service to a fragile soul. Never an inquisitive man in this city of strangers and immigrants, he is happy to let be whoever graces his tables.

He would love, however to know your name, only that he might be able to welcome you and say his goodbye on a more personal note. Suddenly, the door opens, the old-fashioned bell above the door jingles announcing an arrival or a departure. It must be an arrival for there is no one but you to depart. You decide to look up from your cup and turn your head to the doorway on your right: you see a man enter. Immediately, without hesitation, without knowing how, you recognise this man to be Jesus from Alabama.

He closes the door behind him. He is alone — no disciples following in his wake, no emergency ward trailing after him, no screamers demanding attention. Alone he turns away from the closed door and steps into your sanctuary, into your chosen place of retreat. You sense this, somehow; this you know. He is coming here all the way from Alabama to meet you. There are plenty of empty chairs around, but, as you guessed, he chooses the one opposite you. He first asks politely if there is anyone sitting there.

You look, as if to check, smile politely, and say no. He sits opposite you, facing you and the dark. What to do? I really must run. There is no need to run There is no need to pretend. There is no need to be someone you are not.

Be yourself, Wait, wait, wait. He knows the mystery of you. Why do you sit here for so long? Who or what are you waiting for? Tell me about your home place and about why you left. Tell me how you are. I have all the time in the world. The encounter Jesus, weary from his journey as he passes through Samaria on his way north to Galilee, has a midday break and sits down by a well near the ancient town of Shechem. Pause and consider Jesus will define himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Sit quietly, be still.

Faith reflections: Women at the well

What makes this world so lovely is that somewhere it hides a well. I think it comes at a perfect time as after a few weeks of our Lenten journey, we are certainly in need of a well! She is a Samaritan, a race of people the Jews utterly despise as having no claim on their God…and she is also an outcast, one who is looked down upon by her own people. She comes alone in the heat of the day to draw water from the community well. This is unusual as drawing water and chatting at the well early in the day is the social highpoint for most other women.

Barely two months after graduating from college, I boarded a plane and landed in The Gambia, West Africa, to begin my service as a Peace Corps volunteer. I found myself in a new land, with a new language, new customs and new food. I saw her in the village, women who worked day in and day out feeding and caring for their children and families; cleaning, cooking and working the fields.

Post a Comment. Monday, March 20, It was noon. John Those who have ears to hear, hear this story.

Gospel Reflection

During the six weeks of Lent , Bishop Donal McKeown invites us, as individuals, as families and parish faith communities of the Diocese of Derry, to use the six Sunday Gospels of Lent to look at the life of service to which God is calling all of us, as the disciples of Jesus. Priests and parishioners of the diocese are asked to create opportunities in their parish for discussion of each Gospel reflection. The parish conversation may take place over a cup of tea after Mass, it might take place after a Weekday Mass, it might be in the form of a more structured discussion perhaps put together by the Parish Pastoral Council. It could be a case of handing out flyers at Mass with the discussion points, so that families can discuss them at home. Bishop Donal's third reflection for consideration is outlined below. The story of the 'nameless' Samaritan Woman at the Well, recorded only in the Gospel of St John, is full of truths and powerful lessons. An outcast in her own community, the Samaritan woman even despised herself, but Jesus recognised her spiritual thirst and engaged with her.

Third Sunday of Lent: The Woman at the Well

This reflection on John considers how Jesus values the people scorned by others, in this instance a Samaritan Woman. So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. It was about noon. Where do you get that living water?

Augustine here reflects on the famous conversation in the Gospel of John between Jesus and the Samaritan woman who came to draw water from the well. He sees her as a symbol for the Gentiles who are called to conversion and faith and who are promised the gift of the Holy Spirit in abundance.

Question: "What can we learn from the woman at the well? This was an extraordinary woman. She was a Samaritan , a race of people that the Jews utterly despised as having no claim on their God, and she was an outcast and looked down upon by her own people.

Woman at the Well: A Story of a Loving God

Whoever owns the well is a keeper of life; whoever has access to the well has admittance to new life. Like pubs and coffee houses, wells were natural gathering places, where news would be exchanged and the latest gossip gathered; they were also associated with romantic relationships. The evangelist calls a number of witnesses to the stand, John the Baptist being the first witness to testify.

In an article first published in The Irish Catholic, Brendan Comerford finds lenten inspiration in the Gospel story of the Samaritan woman at the well outside Sychar. I can never resist the temptation to do so since the Gospel reading for The Third Sunday of Lent, Year A, is the marvellous story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well John If someone were to ask you what is your image of Jesus, what would you say? When I think about that question in times of prayer, I invariably come back to this scene of Jesus with this woman. I find something very human about a Jesus who is literally exhausted from walking and most likely ministering to the crowds.

Jesus Talks to the Woman at the Well | Minute Gospel Reflections for Kids

Posted on March 13, Updated on March 13, Full scripture for this Sunday is available on the Catholic Ireland website. Daily Scripture is also available. Jesus came to the Samaritan town called Sychar, near the land that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.

Feb 26, - February 26, The woman at the well A lenten reflection by Brendan Comerford This year , we're listening to the scripture readings for.

This Samaritan woman goes to the well in the heat of the day most likely because she wanted to avoid running into others who would look on her as a tainted woman. She is surprised to encounter a man, and even more a Jewish man, who initiates a conversation with her. She was already vulnerable because of her past and when she meets this man, Jesus, she could immediately recognize his acceptance.

The story of the woman at the well is one of the most well known in the Bible; many Christians can easily tell a summary of it. On its surface, the story chronicles ethnic prejudice and a woman shunned by her community. But take look deeper, and you'll realize it reveals a great deal about Jesus' character.

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Comments: 1
  1. Malalabar

    It agree, it is the amusing information

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