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Jesus Met the Woman at the Well

(Photo from http://www.Christ.org)

[Note: All quotations are from the New King James Version Bible]

John 4:1-54 in the New Testament tells the story of the woman at the well. When Jesus informed his disciples that he was going to go to Galilee by way of Samaria, they would have been surprised, although John does not tell us so. Samaria was generally avoided by devout Jews. Interactions with Samaritans were frowned upon due to religious and cultural conflicts. Jesus was making a daring move and a profound statement by choosing to go there.

Jesus traveled to the city of Sychar and decided to rest at Jacob’s Well, which was just outside the city, while his disciples went on to procure food. Soon, a Samaritan woman came to the well to draw water. When Jesus asked her for a drink of water, she reminded him that Jews did not mix with Samaritans. But Jesus offered her “the gift of God” and “living water” in exchange for the drink.

The woman questioned Jesus further, reminding him that Jacob dug the well. But Jesus pointed out to her that ordinary water would always leave a person thirsty. The water he offered would give “everlasting life.” The woman, intrigued, asked for her portion of this water, but Jesus turned the tables on her by asking her to bring her husband to the well. The woman admitted that she had no husband.

Jesus, pleased by her honesty, revealed that she had had five husbands. The woman, amazed by his knowledge of her, honored him as a prophet. She reminded Jesus that part of the conflict between the Jews and the Samaritans was the sacred places of worship, which differed between the two groups. Jews believed Jerusalem was the only place to properly worship God, and the Samaritans worshipped right there on the mountain near Jacob’s Well.

In response, Jesus made a profound admission. “The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” He seems to be saying here that God does not need a temple or particular place in which to be worshipped. Worship comes from the heart and the soul and cannot be contained within brick-and-mortar walls or special designated places of worship. God is everywhere and all-inclusive. All people are welcome to worship Him.

The woman at the well affirmed her belief in the coming of the Messiah, and Jesus admitted that He was the Messiah. The disciples returned then with the food and did not question Jesus talking to the Samaritan woman. But Jesus affirmed to them that He was doing His Father’s work – that was His real food.

In her excitement, the woman ran off without her water jug. But she no longer needed it because she had heard Jesus’s words and left filled with the Holy Spirit. She informed the city about Jesus and His wise words. People flocked to hear what He had to say. Many believed in Him because of what He had to say. People told the woman, “we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the World.”

After two days, Jesus and His disciples traveled on to Galilee. He returned to Cana, where he learned about a wealthy man’s son in Capernaum who was sick. Jesus admonished the people, accusing them of not believing in Him unless they “see signs and wonders.” But Jesus reassured the father that his son would live. When the man returned home, he learned that his son had recovered from his illness at about the same time that Jesus had assured him that his son would live.

The difference between the Samaritans and the Galileans was that the woman at the well and the people in Sychar believed in Jesus as the Christ because of His words, whereas the Galileans wanted proof in the form of miracles.

May we listen to the words of Jesus and find comfort in His wisdom, love, and compassion. May we put all of our trust in God and hand over all of our worries and cares to Him.

(Folk singers Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey, and Mary Travers: “Jesus Met the Woman,” from the 1964 album, “Peter, Paul, and Mary in Concert.”)

Dawn Pisturino

August 26, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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The Poem that Inspired Simon & Garfunkel

Richard Cory – the poem that inspired Simon & Garfunkel

by Edwin Arlington Robinson

Whenever Richard Cory went downtown,

We people on the pavement looked at him:

He was a gentleman from sole to crown,

Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,

And he was always human when he talked;

But still he fluttered pulses when he said,

“Good morning,” and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich — yes, richer than a king —

And admirably schooled in every grace:

In fine, we thought that he was everything

To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,

And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;

And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,

Went home and put a bullet through his head.

~Edwin Arlington Robinson~

~

In 1966, Simon & Garfunkel borrowed Robinson’s poem, “Richard Cory,” modernized the language, and set it to music. The song is both thought-provoking and astonishing – just like Robinson’s poem – and was included in the duo’s hit album, Sounds of Silence.

I personally think the song lyrics are infinitely better than the poem. But, listen for yourself!

~

Bio: While Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935) is not remembered much now, he was a highly prolific and enthusiastically praised poet in his time. He often wrote on “themes of personal failure, artistic endeavor, materialism [and wealth], and the inevitability of [progress and] change” (Robert Gilbert). Robinson self-published his books of poetry until Houghton Mifflin agreed to publish his book of poems, Captain Craig, in 1902. The book was not successful, and Robinson became a drifter and alcoholic. In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt became aware of Robinson and his book, The Children of the Night. Roosevelt convinced Charles Scribner’s Sons to republish the book. He also obtained a job for Robinson at the New York Customs House. Job security allowed Robinson to continue with his writing. Robinson won a Pulitzer Prize for his Collected Poems in 1922. He won a second Pulitzer Prize in 1924. In 1927, he won a third Pulitzer Prize. Robinson died of cancer in 1935.

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Dawn Pisturino

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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