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1. Jesus and the Samaritan woman

Movement and counter-movements


Encouraging movements in the direction of deeper life “in-God” will also be to engage with the counter-movements which will pull pilgrims away from what is life giving, growth oriented, healing, and restoring; there can be both attraction and resistance. In the gospel encounter between Jesus and a Samaritan woman we witness these movements. There is attraction towards Jesus and what he has to offer. There is also resistance. And yet, we are witnesses to a remarkable breaking through of kingdom life as the woman and many of her villagers come into relationship with Jesus.


Take a moment to reflect on these two images. 























Reflective reading: John 4:7–26, NRSV.

A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.)  

The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) 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.”  

The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!”

The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet.  Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.”  Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”

Follow your first reading by an unhurried time of indwelling—bringing the whole of your person into this encounter as you “inhabit” both the woman and Jesus.  

During your second reading, notice the key word, phrase, metaphor or image that is resonating with something within you. Stay with this and be prayerfully attentive and awake to what the Holy Spirit is stirring within you.  

What is beginning to resonate and stir within me . . .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 


The third reading is presented in the form of a dialogue. During this reading notice where your own story resonates with that if the Samaritan woman. Notice her movements towards Jesus and her movements away. Be open to such movements being revealed within your own experience.

Dialogue. . .A thin veil of resistance flung around a residue of integrity

Coming upon a man resting by the well from which she needed to draw water, the Samaritan woman flung a protective veil around herself to create as much distance as possible. He was obviously Jewish and could treat her like a dog. When he condescended to speak to her, she was caught completely unaware.

‘Would you give me a drink of water?’

That he asked something of her rang warning bells. Men always had mixed motives! She should rise up, put all the religious, cultural and gender barriers back in his face, and never let him know he had the upper hand!  And yet, something was beginning to stir within her . . .

Transcript of Dialogue

My resonance . . .    

Jesus: “Would you give me a drink of water?”

Woman: (taken aback). “How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (Jews in those days wouldn’t be caught dead talking to Samaritans.)

Jesus:If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.”

Woman: “Sir, you don’t even have a bucket to draw with, and this well is deep. So how are you going to get this “living water”? Are you a better man than our ancestor Jacob, who dug this well and drank from it, he and his sons and livestock, and passed it down to us?

Jesus:  “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirstnot ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.”

Woman: “Sir, give me this water so I won’t ever get thirsty, won’t ever have to come back to this well again!”

Jesus:Go call your husband and then come back.”

Woman: “I have no husband”

Jesus:That’s nicely put: I have no husband. You’ve had five husbands, and the man you’re living with now isn’t even your husband. You spoke the truth there, sure enough.”

Woman: “Oh, so you’re a prophet! Well, tell me this: Our ancestors worshiped God at this mountain, but you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place for worship, right?”

Jesus: “Believe me, woman, the time is coming when you Samaritans will worship the Father neither here at this mountain nor there in Jerusalem. You worship guessing in the dark; we Jews worship in the clear light of day. God’s way of salvation is made available through the Jews. But the time is comingit has, in fact, comewhen what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter. It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itselfSpirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”

Woman: “I don’t know about that. I do know that the Messiah is coming. When he arrives, we’ll get the whole story.”

Jesus: “I am he. You don’t have to wait any longer or look any further.”



























































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