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“Behold the wonder! He comes to Samaria to talk with a women.  He who covers Himself with clouds seeks a drink. Of His own compassionate will He became poor for us.  Therefore let us worship Him in faith. Lord, glory to You! (Hymn of Praise)

Today we commemorate on this 5th Sunday of Pascha, the story of the Samaritan Women. (John 4:5-42)

The sun was hot at noon, tired from the long journey, Jesus sat by the well of Jacob to rest.  He asked a women for a drink of water to which she replied, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan!” (John 4:9)  the hostility between Jews and Samaritans was proverbial, for He already knew what her response would be.

Later when the disciples arrived they too were perplexed by what they saw Jesus doing, although they did not dare question the Master about it, “they were greatly surprised to find Him talking with a women”. (John 4:27)

Jesus’ attitude toward the Samaritans was shocking to pious Jews. For instance in the gospel it tells a parable of a pious Jew traveling from Judea to Galilee who rather then journeying through Samaria took the long way around but in this instance fell upon bandits who robbed him and beat him, but as the story goes both a priest and a Levite ignored him and passed by while a Samaritan helped him at great risk and expense. (Luke 10:33-35) You see Jesus saw love and goodness in the Samaritans.

Yet another story comes to mind that of the ten lepers who Jesus healed, but only one, a Samaritan, returned to give thanks. (Luke 17:16)

So it is very significant that Jesus spoke to the Samaritan women and welcomed the hospitality of her people.  So though He was a Jew, He won over their hearts, through His love and even their souls for the kingdom.

The Samaritan women at the well then said to Jesus, “Sir give me that water. Then I will never be thirsty again”! (John 4:15)  Jesus then said to the women, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life”.

Thus her own gradual insight through the eyes of her heart were looking to Jesus, transforming her from an adulterous sinner to a true missionary of Jesus.  This story tells us that the isolation we may be experiencing at present doesn’t have to be the last word.  Whether the isolation is a product of social injustice, historical bad feelings or medical necessity.  It doesn’t have to keep us from doing what we are called to do. It shows us a way to be together even when we have been separated- that is so powerful!   Let us find ways that keep us connected, even as present circumstances keep us apart.

In addition, from what we know from Church tradition her name was not mentioned in this particular story from the Gospel of John, but later we realize that the name given to her was Photini  (the luminous one) and that she died a martyrs death at the orders of Nero by being thrown into a dry well!  To this day the Church honors her with the title, “Equal to the Apostles”  for she brought the message of salvation to the Samaritans, who through the eyes of their hearts, too, looked to the Lord Jesus.

You see we too, look to Jesus, during this terrible pandemic, so that we may receive from Him, the work and the cross of each day with Grace which is more then sufficient to bear the Cross and do the work ahead of us; patient through patience; active by His activity; loving with His love; asking not, “what I can do?, but What can He not do?! – trusting upon His strength, which is made perfect in our weakness!

We must look unto Jesus- and not to ourselves, our thoughts our wishes our plans; and most of all not unto the world or its allurements.

Looking upon Jesus- and not to our strength, unto Jesus, and not to our weaknesses, unto Jesus and not to our sins…but unto Jesus always. Waiting for the hour when He shall call us to pass from earth to heaven, and from time to eternity, the promised, blessed hour, when at last we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him, face to face, as He is!

Christ is Risen!
With love in the Risen Lord!
Father John