Sunday of the Samaritan Woman
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5 So he came to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.
6 Jacob's well was there, and so Jesus, wearied as he was with his journey, sat down beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7 There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink."
8 For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
10 Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water."
11 The woman said to him, "Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; where do you get that living water?
12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?"
13 Jesus said to her, "Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again,
14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
15 The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."
16 Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here."
17 The woman answered him, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You are right in saying, 'I have no husband';
18 for you have had five husbands, and he whom you now have is not your husband; this you said truly."
19 The woman said to him, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.
20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship."
21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.
22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him.
24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."
25 The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ); when he comes, he will show us all things."
26 Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am he."
27 Just then his disciples came. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but none said, "What do you wish?" or, "Why are you talking with her?"
28 So the woman left her water jar, and went away into the city, and said to the people,
29 "Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?"
30 They went out of the city and were coming to him.
31 Meanwhile the disciples besought him, saying, "Rabbi, eat."
32 But he said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know."
33 So the disciples said to one another, "Has any one brought him food?"
34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.
35 Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, then comes the harvest'? I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest.
36 He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.
37 For here the saying holds true, 'One sows and another reaps.'
38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor; others have labored, and you have entered into their labor."
39 Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me all that I ever did."
40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days.
41 And many more believed because of his word.
42 They said to the woman, "It is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world."
5 ἔρχεται οὖν εἰς πόλιν τῆς Σαμαρείας λεγομένην Συχάρ, πλησίον τοῦ χωρίου ὃ ἔδωκεν Ἰακὼβ Ἰωσὴφ τῷ υἱῷ αὐτοῦ·
6 ἦν δὲ ἐκεῖ πηγὴ τοῦ Ἰακώβ. ὁ οὖν Ἰησοῦς κεκοπιακὼς ἐκ τῆς ὁδοιπορίας ἐκαθέζετο οὕτως ἐπὶ τῇ πηγῇ· ὥρα ἦν ὡσεὶ ἕκτη.
7 ἔρχεται γυνὴ ἐκ τῆς Σαμαρείας ἀντλῆσαι ὕδωρ. λέγει αὐτῇ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· δός μοι πιεῖν.
8 οἱ γὰρ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἀπεληλύθεισαν εἰς τὴν πόλιν ἵνα τροφὰς ἀγοράσωσι.
9 λέγει οὖν αὐτῷ ἡ γυνὴ ἡ Σαμαρεῖτις· πῶς σὺ Ἰουδαῖος ὢν παρ᾿ ἐμοῦ πιεῖν αἰτεῖς, οὔσης γυναικὸς Σαμαρείτιδος; οὐ γὰρ συγχρῶνται Ἰουδαῖοι Σαμαρείταις.
10 ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῇ· εἰ ᾔδεις τὴν δωρεὰν τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ τίς ἐστιν ὁ λέγων σοι, δός μοι πιεῖν, σὺ ἂν ᾔτησας αὐτόν, καὶ ἔδωκεν ἄν σοι ὕδωρ ζῶν.
11 λέγει αὐτῷ ἡ γυνή· Κύριε, οὔτε ἄντλημα ἔχεις, καὶ τὸ φρέαρ ἐστὶ βαθύ· πόθεν οὖν ἔχεις τὸ ὕδωρ τὸ ζῶν;
12 μὴ σὺ μείζων εἶ τοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἰακώβ, ὃς ἔδωκεν ἡμῖν τὸ φρέαρ, καὶ αὐτὸς ἐξ αὐτοῦ ἔπιε καὶ οἱ υἱοὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ τὰ θρέμματα αὐτοῦ;
13 ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῇ· πᾶς ὁ πίνων ἐκ τοῦ ὕδατος τούτου διψήσει πάλιν·
14 ὃς δι᾿ ἂν πίῃ ἐκ τοῦ ὕδατος οὗ ἐγὼ δώσω αὐτῷ, οὐ μὴ διψήσῃ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, ἀλλὰ τὸ ὕδωρ ὃ δώσω αὐτῷ, γενήσεται ἐν αὐτῷ πηγὴ ὕδατος ἁλλομένου εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον.
15 λέγει πρὸς αὐτὸν ἡ γυνή· Κύριε, δός μοι τοῦτο τὸ ὕδωρ, ἵνα μὴ διψῶ μηδὲ ἔρχωμαι ἐνθάδε ἀντλεῖν.
16 λέγει αὐτῇ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· ὕπαγε φώνησον τὸν ἄνδρα σου καὶ ἐλθὲ ἐνθάδε.
17 ἀπεκρίθη ἡ γυνὴ καὶ εἶπεν· οὐκ ἔχω ἄνδρα. λέγει αὐτῇ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· καλῶς εἶπας ὅτι ἄνδρα οὐκ ἔχω·
18 πέντε γὰρ ἄνδρας ἔσχες, καὶ νῦν ὃν ἔχεις οὐκ ἔστι σου ἀνήρ· τοῦτο ἀληθὲς εἴρηκας.
19 λέγει αὐτῷ ἡ γυνή· Κύριε, θεωρῶ ὅτι προφήτης εἶ σύ.
20 οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν ἐν τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ προσεκύνησαν· καὶ ὑμεῖς λέγετε ὅτι ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις ἐστὶν ὁ τόπος ὅπου δεῖ προσκυνεῖν.
21 λέγει αὐτῇ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· γύναι, πίστευσόν μοι ὅτι ἔρχεται ὥρα ὅτε οὔτε ἐν τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ οὔτε ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις προσκυνήσετε τῷ πατρί.
22 ὑμεῖς προσκυνεῖτε ὃ οὐκ οἴδατε, ἡμεῖς προσκυνοῦμεν ὃ οἴδαμεν· ὅτι ἡ σωτηρία ἐκ τῶν Ἰουδαίων ἐστίν.
23 ἀλλ᾿ ἔρχεται ὥρα, καὶ νῦν ἐστιν, ὅτε οἱ ἀληθινοὶ προσκυνηταὶ προσκυνήσουσι τῷ πατρὶ ἐν πνεύματι καὶ ἀληθείᾳ· καὶ γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ τοιούτους ζητεῖ τοὺς προσκυνοῦντας αὐτόν.
24 πνεῦμα ὁ Θεός, καὶ τοὺς προσκυνοῦντας αὐτὸν ἐν πνεύματι καὶ ἀληθείᾳ δεῖ προσκυνεῖν.
25 λέγει αὐτῷ ἡ γυνή· οἶδα ὅτι Μεσσίας ἔρχεται ὁ λεγόμενος Χριστός· ὅταν ἔλθῃ ἐκεῖνος, ἀναγγελεῖ ἡμῖν πάντα.
26 λέγει αὐτῇ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ λαλῶν σοι.
27 καὶ ἐπὶ τούτῳ ἦλθον οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐθαύμασαν ὅτι μετὰ γυναικὸς ἐλάλει· οὐδεὶς μέντοι εἶπε, τί ζητεῖς ἢ τί λαλεῖς μετ᾿ αὐτῆς;
28 Ἀφῆκεν οὖν τὴν ὑδρίαν αὐτῆς ἡ γυνὴ καὶ ἀπῆλθεν εἰς τὴν πόλιν, καὶ λέγει τοῖς ἀνθρώποις·
29 δεῦτε ἴδετε ἄνθρωπον ὃς εἶπέ μοι πάντα ὅσα ἐποίησα· μήτι οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ Χριστός;
30 ἐξῆλθον οὖν ἐκ τῆς πόλεως καὶ ἤρχοντο πρὸς αὐτόν.
31 Ἐν δὲ τῷ μεταξὺ ἠρώτων αὐτὸν οἱ μαθηταὶ λέγοντες· ραββί, φάγε.
32 ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· ἐγὼ βρῶσιν ἔχω φαγεῖν, ἣν ὑμεῖς οὐκ οἴδατε.
33 ἔλεγον οὖν οἱ μαθηταὶ πρὸς ἀλλήλους· μή τις ἤνεγκεν αὐτῷ φαγεῖν;
34 λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς· ἐμὸν βρῶμά ἐστιν ἵνα ποιῶ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πέμψαντός με καὶ τελειώσω αὐτοῦ τὸ ἔργον.
35 οὐχ ὑμεῖς λέγετε ὅτι ἔτι τετράμηνός ἐστι καὶ ὁ θερισμὸς ἔρχεται; ἰδοὺ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐπάρατε τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς ὑμῶν καὶ θεάσασθε τὰς χώρας, ὅτι λευκαί εἰσι πρὸς θερισμὸν ἤδη.
36 καὶ ὁ θερίζων μισθὸν λαμβάνει καὶ συνάγει καρπὸν εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον, ἵνα καὶ ὁ σπείρων ὁμοῦ χαίρῃ καὶ ὁ θερίζων.
37 ἐν γὰρ τούτῳ ὁ λόγος ἐστὶν ὁ ἀληθινός, ὅτι ἄλλος ἐστὶν ὁ σπείρων καὶ ἄλλος ὁ θερίζων.
38 ἐγὼ ἀπέστειλα ὑμᾶς θερίζειν ὃ οὐχ ὑμεῖς κεκοπιάκατε· ἄλλοι κεκοπιάκασι, καὶ ὑμεῖς εἰς τὸν κόπον αὐτῶν εἰσεληλύθατε.
39 Ἐκ δὲ τῆς πόλεως ἐκείνης πολλοὶ ἐπίστευσαν εἰς αὐτὸν τῶν Σαμαρειτῶν διὰ τὸν λόγον τῆς γυναικός, μαρτυρούσης ὅτι εἶπέ μοι πάντα ὅσα ἐποίησα.
40 ὡς οὖν ἦλθον πρὸς αὐτὸν οἱ Σαμαρεῖται, ἠρώτων αὐτὸν μεῖναι παρ᾿ αὐτοῖς· καὶ ἔμεινεν ἐκεῖ δύο ἡμέρας.
41 καὶ πολλῷ πλείους ἐπίστευσαν διὰ τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ,
42 τῇ τε γυναικὶ ἔλεγον ὅτι οὐκέτι διὰ τὴν σὴν λαλιὰν πιστεύομεν· αὐτοὶ γὰρ ἀκηκόαμεν, καὶ οἴδαμεν ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν ἀληθῶς ὁ σωτὴρ τοῦ κόσμου ὁ Χριστός.
Larger Thought Unit
The entire chapter serves as the larger context for this Sunday’s reading. It consists of today’s reading of the conversion of the Samaritans and then a return to Capernaum where Christ heals a nobleman’s son. The first unit ends with the confession of the Samaritans that Christ is “indeed the Savior of the world.” The second unit is a miracle story illustrating the previous confession: “Go your way; your son lives…This again is the second sign Jesus did when he had come out of Judea into Galilee.” (John 4:50, 54) The entire chapter is filled with expressions of double meaning, irony and extraordinary instances of crossing boundaries and taboos on the religious and ethnic levels. Christ is truly the “Savior of the world” (John 4:42).
Paul taught that God’s gospel is nothing else than what “he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures” (Rom 1:1-2). This promise was to be realized through his obedient servant (Is 42; 49; 50; 52-53). However, since he is the one God of all, his salvation was not only to invite the disobedient Jacob (who had been sentenced to death in exile) into the new Jerusalem, but also to invite all nations, including the faraway isles and the end of the earth:
Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations… he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not fail or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law. Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it... It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth. (Is 42:1, 3b-5; 49:6)
This is precisely how today’s Gospel reading ends: the non-Jewish Samaritans come to “know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
The Samaritans, however, are to relinquish their mountain, just as the Jews their Jerusalem. The ‘truth’ of God lies in that he is no statue in need of a temple. Rather he has revealed himself in the prophetic “word” of promise, which ultimately was laid down as scripture. Similarly, the same God reveals himself in the apostolic “word” of the realized promise, which again was laid down as scripture in the gospel of John [see the exegetical notes on the readings of Pascha and Thomas Sunday]. Consequently, it is the “words” of Jesus that are the living water for the Samaritans just as his “words” are the bread of life for his disciples (Jn 6:68). The close link between our pericope and that about the bread of life is evident in that the words Jesus addressed to the Samaritan woman are referred to as “the food of which you do not know” (Jn 5:32). This food is to proclaim the will of God (Jn 5:34) embedded in the scriptures, which is precisely what Jesus is presented as doing throughout the gospel of John.
In this gospel Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life,” which is to say he shows ‘through his words’ the true way one is to follow in order to attain life eternal. Indeed, this reply is addressed to Thomas who was asking both where Christ is going and how to get there (John 14:5). Furthermore, in his reply, Jesus interjects: “The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.” It is thus through Jesus’ teaching and not his ‘person’ that God leads us to himself (no one comes to the Father, but by me): it is the “words” of Jesus that are God’s “works.” Even God’s eschatological “work” of judgment will be “worked” through Jesus’ “words” of judgment:
Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works than these will he show him, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. (Jn 5:19-30)
Charles H. Talbert, Reading John, Crossroads Publishing Company, NY, NY, 1992; pp. 111ff.
Paul Nadim Tarazi, New Testament Introduction, Vol.3: Johannine Writings, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY, 2004; pp.156-9.