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Archive for February 17th, 2019


John 4: The Samaritan Woman and the Official with the Ailing Son

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Henry Siemiradski: Christ and the Samaritan Woman

There is so much about these stories to interest us.  There is so much here that Jesus teaches us.  There is so much for us to experience and pass on . . . if we only take the time to look.

The Samaritan Woman in today’s Noontime comes alone at mid-day to Jacob’s Well in the town of Sychar.  Her delayed arrival indicates that she is a late riser and therefore does not live like other women in the community.  Perhaps she is shunned by the other orthodox, early rising women.  We do not know.

What we do know is that this woman approaches a man, Jesus, resting by the well and they speak.  Jesus tells her more than anyone passing through town can know. The woman recognizes that he is special, she believes him to be a prophet, and she slips easily into a redemptive conversation.  After Jesus reveals himself as the Messiah – something he rarely does in the Gospels – and sends her back to her life as a changed woman, she converts others to such an extent that at the town’s request he remains with them for two days.  The result is that far more believed because of his word.

Jan Vermeyen: Wedding Feast at Cana

This second part of this chapter is the story of the official whose son who is cured without Jesus physically touching him. The miracle takes place in Cana, the town where, according to this Gospel, Jesus began his public ministry at the wedding feast where he changed jars of water for ritual cleansing into jars of superb wine. Perhaps this official knew about Jesus from the stories circulating after the miracle at the wedding feast.  Perhaps this is why the official sought out this healing man in search of a cure for his ailing son.  Again, we do not know.

But here is something that we do know . . . in one long elliptical circling journey of physical and spiritual healing, Jesus shows us two stories that speak of the good news of the Messiah’s coming.  Through his words and actions Jesus retells the story of creation, and foreshadows the cycle of redemption and healing in our own lives. In one powerful, long, sweeping arc Jesus moves from north to south to north again; and in his path he leaves a wake of people whose spirits and bodies are touched, healed and transformed. The central episode of the calling and conversion of the Samaritan woman takes place at a well, not a cistern of stagnant water. It happens in the full light of day rather than in the crepuscular light of dawn or dusk, so that all can be revealed to her – and to us – through Christ. All is healed when she commits an act of faith and returns to her people to tell them of this unusual man. This outcast and unorthodox woman becomes an immediate apostle for Christ as she calls the townspeople to this well of now living water, Jesus himself.  And together they create an immediate temple around him, a place of nourishment, cleansing, healing and redemption.

Detail: Christ and the Samaritan Woman

Like the woman at the well, the official realizes that his son was healed at the exact moment Jesus spoke the curing words: So he and all his household believed. The official makes an act of faith in the moment he realizes that he and his son have been touched by something wonderfully special and different, and so he too, becomes an apostle for Christ.

These stories tell us about how Jesus brings both the powerful official and the outcast woman into the temple.  These stories offer us a window into our own lives.  These stories are our own story of call and answer, conversion and healing, rescue and ransom.  They are stories of our own resurrection.

We watch Jesus in this chapter reap these unbelieving souls, convert them, and send them back into the world to continue the harvest. For there is much to gather and the workers are scarce. And just as these diverse followers of Christ make huge, risky changes in their lives, just as they go abroad to tell the good news, so too can we reap the message from our lives and then use it to bring life to others . . . if we only take the time to look.


A re-post from February 15, 2012. 

Images from: http://www.catholicjournal.us/monsignorialmusings/tag/reconciliation and http://www.womeninthebible.net/2.1.Mary_of_Nazareth.htm

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