Christ is risen!
Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says 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 nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” (John 4:9-15)
Jacob of Sarug (d. 521AD) offers a poetic commentary on the Gospel lesson. He creatively contrasts the thirst for water and a thirst for spiritual truth as well as contrasting the water in the pitcher with the great sea of water which turns out to be the Messiah that she encounters in Jesus. Jesus is giving Himself as the spiritual drink to the Woman, who is given the name Photini in traditional Christian literature. Jacob’s poetry causes us to also think about the creation of the world in Genesis 1:6-8 in which God separates the waters from the waters. Jacob hints that the separation of waters in the beginning was actually a spiritual parting with the waters on earth becoming H2O and the waters of the heavens being divine wisdom, love, life. It is these divine waters which Christ makes present on earth again.
“The Weary One sat himself upon the well because He willed [it],
and His sign drew the Samaritan Woman to come to his side.
The Woman came out to draw water and she did not perceive,
that a Great Sea of new life met her in Him.
But when she sought to fill her pitcher a flood poured forth,
and the Abyss that came out to water the entire world encircled her.
She began to draw from that well which was deep,
but the Sea, the Messiah, poured forth Himself to her that she might drink from Him.
When she considered the water so as to bring it up from below,
the heavenly waters descended and surrounded her from all sides.
The heavenly flood conquered the waters from below,
and it drew the Woman that she might draw from it and leave the other.
Our Lord began to speak to her: ‘Give me to drink;’
this was the pretext opening the gate for teaching.
Because of water, our Lord opened the gates for discourse,
but not to order to drink did He ask her if He might drink.
(HOMILIES ON WOMEN WHOM JESUS MET, p 70)
Phontini comes to the well with an empty pitcher to draw some water. She will leave her empty pitcher behind as she drinks her fill of the water of life from the Savior. She came seeking earthly water (the waters under the heaven as in Genesis 1) and departs having received the divine (the waters above the heaven). “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let him who is thirsty come, let him who desires take the water of life without price.” (Revelation 22:17).