On The Samaritan Woman

The dialogue between Christ and the Samaritan woman in John 4 is the longest recorded dialogue between Christ and anyone else recorded in the page of the New Testament. This is for good reason. The dialogue is a love story which contains elements of healing, mystery, compassion, and enlightenment. The best part about it is that it was a real dialogue, not like a soap opera. Further, the story is not just about a random foreigner from two-thousand years ago. It is about you and me.

The Samaritans only believed in the Pentateuch; the first five books of the Old Testament. They did not have good relations with the Jews, and so they avoided them. The Jews too, would avoid the Samaritans. The Jewish region of Galilee was to the north, then the Samaritan region of Samaria, and the furthest south was Judea. When the Jews would travel from Judea to Galilee, they would often go around Samaria, which would take a considerable amount of time longer, just because of their hatred for the Samaritans.

Our Lord, however, who came for all people, broke down the barrier between the Jews and Samaritans by not only traveling through Samaria, but by stopping to speak with this woman. It would have been scandalous for a man to speak to a woman in the manner that Christ spoke to this woman, no less a woman of Samaria, but the Lord broke many man-made barriers throughout His ministry, and this was the result:

This woman, who we know by the name, Photini, was weary and seemed to be jaded by life. Christ does not win her over by impressing her with knowledge of her past, but rather by His compassion and love for her. Notice, Christ does not hold back the truth while speaking to her, but He does it in love. He did not judge her, although He certainly would have had the right to. Christ does not desire the death of a sinner, but that they repent (cf. Ezekiel 33:11).

Because of the Lord’s love and compassion, this woman fell in love with her creator, not in a romantic way, but she loved him with agape; unconditional and self-sacrificial love. Photini went and told all of the townspeople what had happened and they came to see the Lord. When the Lord and His disciples saw the people coming, Jesus said to them, “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest” (John 4: 35). The Samaritan people wore white turbans on their heads. When an ear of wheat is ready to be plucked, it turns white. The Lord used the image of a harvest for the disciples to understand that the Samaritans’ hearts were ready for conversion. Photini went on to become a Great-martyr of the Church and converted many to Christ.

All of this began with a conversation and words of love and compassion from people who were supposed to hate each other. If we speak to the next person we see with love, what will be the result?


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"All of creation is a burning bush of God's energies."
Saint Gregory Palamas