Key Text

John 4:5-15

On his way back to Galilee, Jesus stopped in a Samaritan town called Sychar; a town known for its historic links to Jacob. There was a piece of land which Jacob had given to his son Joseph there; and a well he had dug was still providing the town with water. Feeling bushed after hiking all morning, Jesus plonked himself down near the well while his disciples went into town to buy some lunch. One of the local women came out to draw water from the well. Jesus said to her, "Could you give me a drink, please?"

The woman replied, "What are you doing talking to me? I didn’t think you Jews ever had anything to do with us Samaritans, let alone with Samaritan women!"

Jesus answered her, "You don’t realise what God is willing to give you, or who it is who is asking you for a drink. If you did, you’d be asking me to give you a drink, and I would have offered you pure living water."

The woman replied, "Mister, this is a deep well and you don’t even have a bucket. Where do you suppose you’re going to get this living water? This well was given to us by our ancestor Jacob. He drank from it himself, and so did his family and his livestock. You’re not making yourself out to be a better man than Jacob are you?"

Jesus said to her, "You can drink this water all you like, but it won’t quench your thirst for long. But everyone who drinks the water I give them will never be thirsty again. For them, the water I will give will become a permanent spring within, an overflowing source of life without limit."

"O please Mister," said the woman, "give me some of this water so that I won’t keep getting thirsty and having to trudge out here to draw water."

cited from Laughing Bird Liturgical Resources


Image of the week

February 28, 2005

A woman draws water from a well in the village of Telvatta in southern Sri Lanka January 31, 2005. Tens of thousands of people are living in refugee camps after tsunamis hit on December 26, 2004 and flattened coastal regions in the Indian Ocean.

Picture taken January 31, 2005.
REUTERS/Desmond Boylan

original link


For last week's image (21 February, 2005), click here.


Present Context

For Reflection

Fred Craddock comments on this passage:

If any wish to be fascinated by this woman, let them be so now. She is a witness, but not a likely witness and not even a thorough witness. "A man who told me all that I ever did" is not exactly a recitation of the Apostles Creed. She is not even a convinced witness: "Can this be the Christ?" is literally "This cannot he the Christ, can it?" Even so, her witness is enough: it is invitational (come and see) , not judgmental; it is within the range permitted by her experience; it is honest with its own uncertainty; it is for everyone who will hear. How refreshing. Her witness avoids triumphalism, hawking someone else’s conclusions, packaged answers to unasked questions, thinly veiled ultimatums and threats of hell, and assumptions of certainty on theological matters. She does convey, however, her willingness to let her hearers arrive at their own affirmations about Jesus, and they do: "This is indeed the Savior of the world." John immortalizes her by giving to her witness a name which is the very term with which he began the Gospel. The Samaritan woman, the Greek text reads, spoke "the Word." .

God continually chooses the unlikely, the unprepared, and the unlovely as recipients of his grace, to demonstrate that we are not worthy, but that Christ makes us worthy. Look into the dark, dry and thirsty places of your life: Is Christ there, waiting to offer a drink?

We pray: God, I frequently turn my back on the unlovely and barren places; in some measure I pretend they are not there. Help me to meet you at the well in the middle of the day, that I might indeed find refreshment and intrigue... invitation to a rich journey.

Through the stranger at the well we pray.