It was a hot day. Jesus and His disciples were entering a city called Sychar (Nablus today). They were tired, hungry and thirsty. Jesus sat on the well of Jacob to get some rest and wait for His disciples who went to the city to find something to eat. This is when a Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well, where Jesus was sitting.
An important note to remember about Samaritans, at the time, was that there was a great enmity between the Jews and the Samaritans. Samaritans were regarded as a heretical sect. Nobody liked them, talked to them or even looked at them (In fact there was a saying among the Jews: “May I never set eyes on a Samaritan!” Fanatic Jews would actually close their eyes when a Samaritan is approaching or passing by).
In addition to being a Samaritan (which was a bad thing by itself), this woman lived a sinful life. Her sin was that she knew 5 men outside of marriage, which is considered by the Jews to be committing one of the greatest sins; that is adultery.
The disciples marveled that Jesus talked to a “Samaritan woman”. Even more, they were stunned that Jesus asked a “sinful woman” for water to drink. Shouldn’t He, after all, abide by the rules of the Jewish community and treat this woman as an outcast!
In fact, Jesus didn’t care how the community perceived this woman. While everyone looked at her as an outcast, Jesus looked at her as a human being who lacks love and compassion. While people rebuked her as a sinner, Jesus rebuked her sins that she committed. While people looked at her bad side, Jesus looked at her good side and saw her great potential. He saw what she can become and not what she is. Jesus knew that inside this broken woman there is a great soul that needs to be freed. Indeed, at Pentecost, the Samaritan woman received baptism, along with her five sisters and her two sons, and then began a missionary work, traveling far and wide, preaching the good news of Christ, His death and resurrection. She is considered the first person to preach the Gospel of Christ and equal to the apostles.
Let’s pause for a minute and put ourselves in the place of the Samaritan woman. We may be going through the same experience today. Nothing may seem right in our life. Our circumstances are not as we wish them to be. We may have done things that we are not proud of. We may have gone through certain failures, set backs and disappointments. We may be unloved or rejected because of our habits, beliefs or even because of the way we look.
The bad news is that, most often, we give up and live as if there is no hope in life. Unfortunately, we get used to living negative, defeated and desperate.
The Good news is that God sees our good side and knows our great potential regardless how we live right now. God doesn’t condemn us as sinners; rather He condemns our sins. God is ready to give us that push that will turn our life around and allow us to reach our full potential in life. However, the key is that we must listen to His voice and answer His invitation.
In fact, God extends His invitation to us every Sunday after Sunday and waits for our response. The Samaritan woman took action; she repented and went back and preached Christ to her townspeople. Every Sunday, what do we do when we hear Christ’s invitation?
My beloved in the Lord, we may feel weak, insignificant, insecure and overwhelmed by life, but it is ok because God still sees in us His image and likeness. He sees our potential and good moves.
On a personal level, we must do the same. We must see the potential of others and focus on their positive side. We must see in on another the image and likeness of Christ. Unfortunately, we do the opposite; we strive to point out the weaknesses and falls of others, and we haste to label them as “bad” because of the smallest mistake the make.
My beloved in the Lord, if Christ were to treat us the way we treat one another, we will all go to hell. But the god news is that Christ is a loving God, who overlooks our mistakes and forgives our sins. He sees our bright side and knows our potential.
The story of the Samaritan woman is an opportunity to remind ourselves that as much as we are fortunate to have a forgiving heavenly father, who sees goodness and overlooks our mistakes, we are called to do the same with our fellow brothers. We are called to focus on other’s good side and see their potential of goodness; and extend to them the love of Christ.
It is worth mentioning that the Samaritan Woman was baptized after the day of Pentecost and traveled with the apostles spreading the Gospel of Christ. After her baptism she took the name PHOTINI, which means “the enlightened one”. St. PHOTINI was captured by the emperor Nero, who tried very hard to make her deny Christ, but when he failed he tortured her five sisters and two sons and killed them. He then skinned St. PHOTINI alive; and when she insisted on her faith in Christ, Nero threw her down the well, where she gave her soul back to Christ.
In our church, today is the feast day of the faithful who carry the name of PHOTINI – PHOTIN – NOUR – NORA - MUNEERAH AND MANAR.
May the Lord God, through the prayers of St. PHOTINI the Samaritan, grant you all to drink from the living water and bestow upon you His eternal blessings. Amen.
Christ is Risen!Tags: jesus