Holy Bible

MEETING WITH THE SAMARITAN WOMAN THE AMAZING WINNER OF SOULS The Jews took pride in their land for it was ‘the promised land’ that God had granted to Abraham, the father of believers, as an inheritance for him and his children. At the time of the Lord Jesus Christ this land had become divided into three parts: Judea in the South where the city of God, Jerusalem, stands and where there is the Temple that is considered the holiest place in the world; Galilee or the Galilee of the Gentiles in the North and many in this area had accepted the Jewish faith; and Samaria in the central part of the land. There was a deep and reciprocal hatred between the Samaritans and the Jews. In this chapter, we find the Lord visiting these three parts of the land. The Lord came to Judea after He had spent the feast in Jerusalem (Jn3:22); and now He was leaving after having spent there four months of harvesting [35]. So He had stayed there for a total time of approximately six months. On His way to Galilee, the Lord passed through Samaria. At the well, He met a Samaritan woman who had been married five times and now lived with a man who was not hers. In spite of the enmity that existed between the Jews and the Samaritans, the Lord engaged her in a conversation and so drew her to her salvation. Moreover, He turned her into a witness who would preach salvation. He appealed to her so much that she enjoyed the knowledge He offered. She realized that He is the Messiah who informs us of everything. After spending a few minutes with Him, she left her water pot and ran to draw the whole city; and many believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, when someone meets with the amazing Winner of souls he/she gets to share His features and also becomes a winner of souls. Throughout this meeting, the Lord encourages us to worship in a new manner. He offers the woman and the people of her city living Water whose source springs from within them. He proclaims that He has come instead of Jacob’s well, and He offers Water that whoever drinks of it shall never thirst again since it grants eternal life [14]. He also proclaims that the hour has come when worship will reach a sublime height that is greater than any offered on Mount Gerizim or in the temple. For people will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth [23].Besides, He has a new food, which is to do the will of the One who has sent Him [24]. He says that the fields are white and ready for the new harvest [35]. The four Evangelists have focused on four important personalities in this conversation: the Lord, the Samaritan woman, the disciples, and the people of the city, besides the narrator. The conclusion of the meeting is that: “Now we believe…and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world” [42]. The Evangelist follows the report of this meeting by narrating another one between the Lord and the king’s servant. That person prays the Lord to hurry to his house in order to heal his son and save him from death. The nobleman hears the living words: “Go your way, your son lives.” He believes and his son is healed. In the first meeting, the Samaritan woman and many people of the city of Sychar rejoiced at receiving the new resurrected life; in spite of the fact that they were mostly Gentiles, or half of them, and were the fruit of intermarriages among the Chaldeans and the Jews. In the second meeting, the king’s servant and his household rejoiced at receiving the living faith through the physical healing of the son; and in that case the family was probably of the Gentiles as well. https://coptic-treasures.com/ Main points in Chapter Four 1-The Lord’s Departure from Judea1-3 2-His Stay in Samaria4-6 3-Conversation with the Samaritan woman7-26 4-Her Successful Testimony27-30 5-The Samaritans Believe in Him 39-42 6-His Journey to Galilee43-46 7-The Healing of the Son of the King’s Servant47-54 1-THE LORD’S DEPARTURE FROM JUDEA ‘Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John [1] (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples)’ [2] Although so many had been baptized by John the Baptist, yet the Lord had His own power of attraction. Therefore huge numbers came to be baptized not by the servant (John) but by his Master (the Lord Jesus Christ). The Pharisees had imagined that matters would calm down once they got rid of the Baptist by putting him in prison. However, they find that the Lord has attracted large crowds and they are filled with jealousy. The Lord was involved in preaching and in attracting people to believe in Him. He would then hand them over to His disciples who would baptize them. It could be that the Lord did not baptize Himself in order to prevent those baptized from boasting over others and claiming the honor of having been baptized by the Lord Himself. Other apostles, like St. Paul, left the act of baptism to others so that they could dedicate themselves to preaching (1Cor1:17). This does not indicate that they took baptism lightly, but that it was an easier task to do than that of preaching the Word and winning souls. Having said that, we need to be aware that every baptism performed in the name of the Holy Trinity is not an act done by the priest but it is the act of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself: the Lord sends His Holy Spirit to grant the baptized person the Spirit of an adopted son. The power of baptism does not depend on the righteousness of the minister performing the mystery of baptism, because the Lord alone is the One who grants the hidden mystery. *Actually, it is the Lord who performs the baptism since He is the One who cleanses. He does not baptize in the sense that He is not the one who touches the bodies of those coming for baptism. The disciples performed the service of the body, while He supported them with His glory…and the Lord continues to baptize to this day, and will continue to do so as long as there is baptism. May ministers come to perform the service on earth below without fear for they have a Master in heaven. Someone may say: ‘The Lord truly baptizes by the Spirit and not by the flesh…remove the water and there would not be a baptismal font; remove the Word and there would not be baptism (Eph 5:25-27)1. St. Augustine ‘He left Judea and departed again to Galilee’ [3]. Galilee was under the rule of Herod who had imprisoned John the Baptist. He imagined 1 St. Augustine: On the Gospel of St. John, tractate 15:3 https://coptic-treasures.com/ that he could hide the light in a secure pit. He did not understand that light is more powerful than darkness, and that even though he could kill the Baptist yet the Baptist’s mission would not be crushed. By the coming of the Lord, the true Light himself had come. When the rage of the Pharisees and their desire to kill Him was aroused, the Lord left Judea and went towards the Galilee of the Gentiles because the time of His death had not yet come (Jn 7:30). Besides, probably His disciples were not ready to bear hard trials yet. Therefore He took them with Him to Galilee. At the same time, the Lord wishes to teach us that when we are persecuted we should leave and go to another city. He went to Galilee because many people there were ready to believe in Him. They needed to meet Him and enjoy His words and acts. If you wonder: ‘Why did the Lord go to Galilee?’ My answer is: ‘He did not leave out of fear, but rather to dismiss their jealousy. He could have controlled them if they had come to Him, but He did not want to be doing that constantly as that would have been a denial of the plan for His incarnation. If He had been caught many times and then had disappeared, many would have been suspicious of His case (as a human being). That is why He planned most of His acts to resemble to those of mankind as closely as possible. He wants us all to believe that He is God and to believe and also that He is God in the flesh. That explains why after His resurrection He told His disciples: “…Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have,” (Lk24:39). Moreover, it is for this reason that He rebuked Peter when he told Him: “Far be it from You, Lord, this shall not happen to You!” (Matt 16:22). That is how much this matter was a great concern to the Lord. Indeed, this is not a simple matter in the teachings of the Church for it represents a principal point in the salvation offered to us. Through His incarnation all matters were achieved successfully: for it is through the incarnation that the ties of death have been abolished and our lives have been granted thousands of blessings. Specifically, He wishes us to believe in the plan (of His incarnation) as the endless source and spring of blessings to us. However, while He was concerned to underline His incarnation, He did not allow His divinity to be hidden’2. St. John Chrysostom The Lord gives an example to those who will believe in Him. A servant of the Lord would not be wrong if he withdraws from a situation where his opponents or persecutors are enraged or seeking to harm or kill him…for our good Lord behaved in that manner in order to teach us and not because He was afraid3. St. Augustine 2-THE LORD’S STAY IN SAMARIA ‘But He needed to go through Samaria’ [4] He needed to go through Samaria because it lies in the North of Judea between the Great Sea, the Galilee and the Jordan. Therefore it is impossible to cross from Jerusalem (Judea) to Galilee without going through Samaria. This journey involved three days of travel. The Samaritans were of Jewish origin whether from the perspective of blood ties or of religion. When Assyria captured Israel, the poor were left in the land, so those of Jewish origin intermixed with other nationalities, and especially with those of Assyrian origin. This was planned by some Assyrian kings such as Shamaneser (2 Kgs 17). There was also intermixing between the Jewish religion and strange and idolatry elements. The Samaritans read only the 2 Homilies on St. John,31:1-2 3 St. Augustine: On the Gospel of St. John, tractate 15:2 https://coptic-treasures.com/ Five Books by Moses. They built a temple on Mount Gerizim to oppose the temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, and considered Shechem and not Zion to be the house of Jal or the house of God. Moreover, they celebrated the big Jewish feasts: the Passover, the Pentecost, the Tabernacles, and the Day of Atonement. Until now, they offer a lamb or more on Mount Gerizim on the feast of the Passover. Samaria was a fundamental part of the land of Palestine. Edraz Heim reports that this part stretched for about forty-seven miles from the North to the South, and forty miles from the East to the West. Its boundaries were marked by those of Judea in the South, by Jordan in the East, by the Valley of Charden to the West and the Valley of Jezreel (the Galilee) to the North. The tribes of Menasseh and Ephraim had captured that land; and it was one of the most beautiful and fertile areas in the region. It included the capital city of Samaria (the capital of Israel) and a few other cities. The Lord Jesus came to plant the seed of living faith in the earth of Samaria. Its people accepted the Word as a result of their faith and not because they had seen miracles. They believed the Samaritan woman whose story the Evangelist recounts to us. It is a unique story, for the Lord meets this woman who is a Gentile in many ways, and carries on a conversation with her. He leads her away from the shameful particulars of her life and grants her the mission of evangelism. As a result, she attracts a whole city, in a very short period of time, and leads its entire people to the Savior of the world. The Lord underlines His interest in Samaria and its people. He praises the strangely deformed Samaritan leper. In contrast to nine Jews who had been healed, he was the only one to return and thank the Lord for purifying him (Lk 17:15-18). The Lord also presented the parable of the good Samaritan whose heart was moved with practical love and so showed concern for the wounded Jew on the roadside more than the Jewish priest or the Levite (Lk 10:33-36). Just before His resurrection, the Lord charged His disciples with the responsibility to minister in Samaria: “…and you shall be witnesses for Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The Lord opened the door to Samaria and to all the Gentiles. Therefore when ‘a great persecution arose against the church which was in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, …’ (Acts 8:1). This indicates that there were in Samaria some believers in the early apostolic period. St. Luke reports the ministry of Philip the apostle in the city of Samaria and says: ‘And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip , hearing and seeing the miracles which he did…And there was great joy in that city’ (Acts 8:5-8). The apostles who were in Jerusalem also sent Peter and John to the believers in Samaria in order to pray for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. ‘Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 8:14-17). *The Lord did not go to Galilee without a certain intention. Rather, He went to achieve specific important matters among the Samaritans…and according to His wisdom…He made it seem as though things had happened by coincidence during His journey. The apostles did the same thing too; for when the Jews persecuted them, they immediately left and went to the Gentiles. Similarly, when the Jews rejected the Lord, He went and met with the Samaritans and the woman from Phoenicia. It all happened so that the Jews would have no excuse and would be unable to say: ‘He has abandoned us and has gone to the uncircumcised.’ However, the disciples were able to find a reason for that and said: “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, https://coptic-treasures.com/ behold, we turn to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:46). When they drove Him out, they opened the door to the Gentiles. He did not go immediately to the Gentiles, but He went as He was passing by4. St. John Chrysostom ‘So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph’ [5]. Sychar: this is probably Shechem situated on the Mount of Gerizim and which is often mentioned in the Old Testament. Hoping to get united and become one nation with the children of Jacob, the inhabitants of this area had become circumcised. However, Simeon and Levi had killed them after all the males were circumcised to take revenge as Shechem had raped their sister Dinah(Gen 34:24…). In Shechem, Abimelek had reigned, and it is there that Jeroboam had set up his throne. Some believe that it was a ‘military’ area situated about half a mile North of Jacob’s well, about ten miles from Shiloh, forty miles from Jerusalem, and Fifty three miles from Jericho. St. Jerome believes that the Lord went to Shechem and not Sychar. In his days, it was called Neapolis5. Currently, the name of the city is Naplouse. It was called Sychar which means ‘drunken’ as the inhabitants liked drinking. Isaiah the prophet accuses the people of Ephraim of this crime (Is 38:1,3.7-8) as this city was situated within their borders. This is the information reported about this city: 1-It is the first city where Abraham stopped when he journeyed from Haran to Canaan. 2-There God appeared to Abraham for the first time and promised to give him the land as an inheritance to his descendants 3-There Abraham built the first altar for God and called it by His name (Gen 12:7). Jacob bought this field from the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for one hundred pieces of silver or money (Gen 33:19). Then he built an altar and called it El Elohe Israel. Jacob specifically left this field as an inheritance for Joseph and his children (Gen 48:31-32; Joshua 24:32). * You might wonder: ‘Why does the Evangelist present so many details about the place?’ So that you do not get astonished at the words of the Samaritan woman; for it was here that the anger of Levi and Simeon was kindled on account of Dinah. They engaged in a violent slaughter…The Samaritans did not read all the Old Testament and accepted only the Books written by Moses and a small number of Books written by the prophets. Nevertheless, they were eager to inject and impose themselves into the honorable Jewish ancestry. In this way, they could boast and claim Abraham to be their father especially since they were of Chaldean origin too. They also called Jacob their father since he was Abraham’s descent. As for the Jews, they despised the Samaritans as much as they despised the rest of the Gentiles. That is why they reproached the Lord and told Him: “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?”(Jn 8:48)6. St. John Chrysostom 4 Homilies on St. John, 31:2 5 Letter 108:13 6 Homilies on St. John, 31:2 https://coptic-treasures.com/ ‘Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied, from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.’ [6] The Old Testament makes no mention of this well. But according to tradition handed down to the Samaritans, this well had been dug or used by Jacob and therefore got named as Jacob’s well. Later on it became open for public use. The Greek word houtoos is used to indicate that the act of sitting did not take place on a throne or a couch but on the ground, and on the stones scattered near the well. About the sixth hour- that is around noon time, the Lord felt tired because He had walked in the heat of the day. Just like a normal human being, He was subject to physical weakness and got tired. He humbly traveled on foot, and He did not own a boat or an animal that He could ride. Because He had a fragile body, He could not tolerate walking in the heat; whereas his disciples did not have any problem. They went into the city and bought food. It is not strange to know that the Lord got tired and thirsty at noon time. The disciples had left Him- this brings to mind the scene of the Lord on Mount Calvary or Golgotha where He hung on the Cross at noontime. He was carrying our burdens and revealed His thirst for every human soul. There, too, His disciples forsook Him and ran away, and left Him to pass through the wine press alone. *The Lord came to that place by avoiding the life of comfort. He took the wearisome path and struggled as He did not use any donkey on this journey. Indeed, He walked so much that He got tired during His journey. On every occasion, the Lord teaches us this lesson: to struggle in our effort to get our necessities without searching for luxuries. That is why He says: “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matt 8:20).Besides, He spent most of His time in the mountains and desert at night as well as during the day for that same reason. David speaks about that when he says: ‘He shall drink of the brook by the wayside; therefore he shall lift up the head’ (Ps 110:7). This foretells the hard way of life that the Lord would lead7. St. John Chrysostom *If you wish to find the Lord, abandon the broken basins, for the Lord usually sits by a well rather than by a pool. The Samaritan woman found Him there. She is the one who wanted to believe. Because she needed to draw water, she had to go in the early morning. But she did not go until the sixth hour when she found the Lord tired from His journey. He is tired because of you for He has been looking for you for so long. Your lack of faith has worn Him out. Yet, in spite of that, when you come He will not say one word of reproach. He asks you to give Him to drink while He is the Giver of all things. Yet He is nourished (and drinks) by Your redemption and not from an overflowing stream. He drinks from your good deeds, and He drinks the cup or the suffering through which He will redeem your sins. Consequently, we quench the thirst of this world when we drink of His holy Blood. It is in this manner that Abraham enjoyed God after he had dug a well (Gen 21:30). Isaac met his wife as he walked by a well (Gen. 24:64) and she walked towards him as a symbol of the Church…Rebekah found the one looking for her at the well; and the harlots washed themselves in the water of the pool from the blood (1 Kgs 22:38)8. St. Ambrose *The power of the Lord Jesus Christ created you and His weakness (or fatigue) renews 7 Homilies on St. John, 31:3 8 Of the Holy Spirit 1:16:184-185 https://coptic-treasures.com/ your being. The power of the Lord brought you into being out of nothing and His weakness reversed the sentence on that which was expedient to destroy so that it would not be annihilated. He has created us by His power and He has restored us by His weakness9. *In the form of a weak person, He feeds and satisfies the weak in the same manner that a hen does with her chicken. Indeed, He likens Himself to a hen when He speaks of Jerusalem and says: “O Jerusalem…how often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing” (Matt 23:37). Dear fellow men, you are aware how weak the mother hen becomes with her chicks. None other among the birds know how to do that when they become mothers…for her wings droop, her feathers shed, her voice breaks, and all her members become weak and thin. You can tell that she is a mother even if her chicks are not around her. In the same manner, the Lord Jesus Christ is weak and fatigued from His journey. His body represents the journey that He had taken for our sakes. How could it be otherwise as He journeyed everywhere, while He is never absent and (omnipresent) in every place?... The Lord is physically weak so that you would not become weak. Indeed, you become strong through His weakness for the ‘weakness of God is stronger than men’10. *The woman was created from the rib and so seemed to be strong, while Adam seemed weak as he was created from dust. This is the Lord and His Church: His weakness is our strength11. *Why is the sixth hour so meaningful? It is because in the Bible every period is viewed as an hour. So the first period covers from Adam to Noah, the second from Noah to Abraham, the third from Abraham to David, the fourth from David to the exile in Babylon, the fifth from the exile in Babylon to the baptism of John, and from that time the sixth period begins12. St. Augustine * ‘Jesus…sat thus’, what does the Evangelist mean by ‘thus’? That is He did not sit on a throne, or a pillow; but that He simply sat on the ground13. St. John Chrysostom 3-THE CONVERSATION WITH THE SAMARITAN WOMAN ‘A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her: “Give Me a drink” [7]. That the woman came at noon after the men and women had drawn water and had returned to their homes reveals the way her people regarded her. She could not bring herself to face any of them. So she came alone and in the heat of the day to draw water. Our Lord is the God of those who are banished and forsaken. He fashions and transforms them into children of His kingdom and preachers of the truth. It is clear that this Samaritan woman was poor since she did not have a servant to draw water from the well for her. She was a fighter who went herself to the well to draw water. This meeting reminds us of Rebecca, Rachel, and the daughter of Jethro. Through meetings at the well, they were blessed in their marriages to Isaac, Jacob, and Moses. In the same 9 St. Augustine: On the Gospel of St. John, tractate 15:4 10 St. Augustine: On the Gospel of St. John, tractate 15:7 11 St. Augustine: On the Gospel of St. John, tractate 15:8 12 St. Augustine: On the Gospel of St. John, tractate 15:9 13 Homilies on St. John, 31:3 https://coptic-treasures.com/ way, the Samaritan woman found the Bridegroom of her soul at Jacob’s well. We too find our Messiah and Bridegroom in the baptismal font. The Lord began His conversation with her by a humble request: to have a drink of water. The One who had become poor for our sake has now become a beggar, for our sake too. He asks for a glass of water not out of His personal need but in order to reveal her own need for Him. Then she would drink and be satisfied from the springs of His rich blessings and grace. * What does ‘Give Me a drink’ imply? It implies: ‘I am yearning for you to believe’14. *The One who asked for a drink was thirsty and sought to offer faith and salvation to the woman herself15. St. Augustine *Here we learn about the Lord’s struggle during His journey and His disregard for food which He considered of little importance. His disciples learned to behave in the same manner for they were to take no provisions when they traveled. Another evangelist reveals the same principal when he reports the Lord’s words to His disciples about the ‘leaven of the Pharisees’ (Matt 6:16). They thought He was saying these words because they had no bread. Another instance is when the disciples are reported to be in the fields cutting and eating the corn ears (Matt 12:1). The Gospel also tells that when the Lord came to the fig tree He was hungry (Matt 21:18). All this is mentioned just to teach us not to worry or be anxious about matters belonging to the stomach and its needs16. St. John Chrysostom ‘For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food’ [8]. *In this situation, not only is the Lord’s fatigue revealed but also His lack of pride. This is evident not only as He is tired and sits on the side of the road; but also as He is left alone and the disciples abandon Him while - if He had wanted- He could have kept a few to serve Him and sent only a some away into the city. But He did not want that as He intended to teach His disciples to get accustomed to trampling their pride. Is there any wonder that they were moderate in their needs since they were fishermen and tent makers? It is true that these were their occupations; yet in a moment they had been raised to the highest heaven and they were invested with greater honor than all earthly kings. They had been found worthy to have fellowship with the Lord of the world, and to follow the One to whom all look and tremble. However, you know well that specifically those who come from low origins become puffed up when they are easily granted a privilege. They are stupid for they do not know how to contain the honor they have suddenly received. Therefore to preserve their actual humility, the Lord constantly taught them to be moderate and not to expect that anyone would welcome them (with honor)17. St. John Chrysostom While the disciples were in the city buying food, the Lord seized the opportunity to speak with the Samaritan woman and to draw her, and the people of the city to their salvation. To do the will of the Father is His true food (bread) which consists of the redemption of souls. Our Messiah who is concerned with speaking with the crowds is also concerned with meeting one individual, a poor woman who is of a strange origin and a Samaritan who bears 14 Sermon on N.T. Lessons, 49:3 15St. Augustine: On the Gospel of St. John, tractate 15:11 16 Homilies on St. John,31:3 17Homilies on St. John,31:3 https://coptic-treasures.com/ enmity towards the Jews. *They went to buy food as they acted differently from us. When we wake up, we devote our attention to food before all other concerns. Therefore we call on the cooks, food experts, or servers and recommend carefully that they upgrade and prepare our food. After that we go about our daily occupations and these have priority over our spiritual concerns. But we should really do the opposite of that: first we ought to give priority and handle our spiritual duties as they should be of greater importance. Next, we would be ready to handle our daily tasks. St. John Chrysostom ‘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’ [9]. The Samaritan woman recognizes that the Lord is a Jew either from His clothes which are different from the Samaritans’ or from His accent. What preoccupies her is not to answer His request or reject it, but the tone of His voice. He did not sound like a Jew with hostile feelings. The Samaritans too were known to be hostile to the Jews (Ezra 4:1). She knows how much the Jews hate and resent the Samaritans. The Jews believed that Samaritans have no right to the resurrection from the dead, they are cursed, and are denied to be one with God’s people. It was not right for a Jew to eat of a Samaritan’s food or that would defile him/her and the same applied for those who would eat pigs. However, the Lord Jesus Christ disregards this enmity since His primary concern is to attract the soul and therefore enjoy His salvation. The Samaritan woman is astonished at the Lord’s attitude for it was unthinkable for a Jew to ask anything whatsoever from a Samaritan; and there was no exception- no matter the degree of need or hardship. She was also astonished that He would expect her to respond to His request due to the fact that Samaritans were hostile to the Jews. No transactions took place between the Jews and the Samaritans therefore they had no dealings in the domains of worship or commerce. It was forbidden to borrow vessels from a Samaritan or to share the same meal together. * What signs led her to suspect that He is a Jew? Probably from His clothes as well as from the accent of His speech. Notice how courteous the Samaritan woman is. She does not say that Samaritans do not deal with the Jews; but she wonders ‘For the Jews have no dealings with Samaritans’18. St. John Chrysostom She got to know the Lord gradually through His conversation and His gradual revelations: • At the beginning of His conversation, she thought Him to be a Jew who would not deal with Samaritans [9] • She called Him ‘Sir’ [11] • She conceived Him to be greater than Jacob the father of all the tribes [12] • She believed that He is the Giver of the living water [15] • She believed that He is a prophet [19] • She expected Him to be the awaited Messiah [25], therefore He said to her: I who speak to you am He” [26] 18 Homilies on St. John,31:4 https://coptic-treasures.com/ ‘Jesus answered and said to her: “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says to you, ‘Give Me a drink’, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water” [10] The Lord Jesus Christ draws that woman to the path of salvation. He does so by attracting her thoughts away from the preoccupation with the hostility existing between the two parties and leading her to the depths of her soul. Consequently, she thirsts for the living water, and realizes her need for the Savior. In this way, he does not attack the manner of worship in Samaria which is a divided and distorted concept of faith and worship. It is not a time for conflict; but a time for a calm meeting with the soul and the enjoyment of God’s free blessings. For the time has come for God to visit the whole world by sending the redeeming Messiah. The Lord yearns that we know Him, call Him, and attain Him and ultimately satisfy our thirst from Him forever! What she needs is true knowledge: “If you knew the gift of God”, “…and who it is that says to you….” She needs to know the gift of God to her, and to realize who is the One speaking to her for He is the greatest Gift! He is the treasure of God’s sublime love, the One who quenches the thirsty soul. This is not a loan and a debt we need to repay; but it is a free gift that the Father is glad to offer to mankind. She does not comprehend the Gift of God or that He has sent His only Son to offer Himself on behalf of the world (Jn 3:16). She also does not know about the gift of the Holy Spirit that flows into the soul as a river satisfying it and overflowing to others. Neither does she know that the Spirit offers other unlimited spiritual talents sanctified for the redemption of the world. These are free divine gifts that God offers to initiate His love towards us even while we were still enemies. These gifts will continue to be a source granting us divine knowledge even in eternal life: ‘And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb…’ (Rev 22:1). *The gift of God is the Holy Spirit. However, until this moment, the Lord is speaking to the woman cautiously and entering (winning) her heart gradually19. St. Augustine ‘Living water’ is a common expression to indicate the sources of water that flow continuously. This is the opposite of ‘dead water’ that refers to stagnant water found in ponds, marches, and water tanks where it is exposed to pollution. Living water refers to the Holy Spirit that waters the soul and transforms its bareness into a fruitful paradise. At the same time the Spirit washes the soul from her corruption. *The Lord here reveals that the woman deserves to hear the Word rather than someone to be rejected. Having revealed Himself to her, she instantly listens to Him for she learns who He is. This is something that cannot be said about the Jews; for when they learned they no longer asked Him or even wished to benefit in any way from Him. Moreover, they insulted and expelled Him20. St. John Chrysostom *This is the water that David thirsted for, just as the deer ‘pants for the water brooks’ (Ps 42:1) rather than thirsting for the poison of snakes. This is because the water granted by the grace of the Holy Spirit is living water. It purifies the inner parts of the mind and washes away every sin of the soul while removing the resistance of hidden sins21. 19 St. Augustine: On the Gospel of St. John, tractate15:12 20 Homilies on St. John,31:4 21 Of the Holy Spirit 1:16:175 https://coptic-treasures.com/ St. Ambrose “…you would have asked…’: true knowledge would motivate us to pray and ask. On His part, God is ready to respond by granting our request. However, He waits until we reveal our desire to receive, and to ask so that we can receive. “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?”[11] Maundiell notes that the depth of the well is approximately 35 yards22. To draw water one would need a bucket and a long rope. Neither the Lord nor His disciples had any of these. It seemed to the woman that the Lord’s words were illogical. That is because He spoke of spiritual matters, whereas she was thinking in materialistic terms. In spite of that, she felt obliged to respect and honor Him due to the tone of His words. As a result she started to address him as ‘Sir.’ The Samaritan woman took pride in the well that had been dug by a human hand; yet she was not aware that she stood before the divine and living Source. In the past, God had reproached His people saying: “For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn for themselves cisterns- broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jer. 2:13). * Note how the woman answers the Lord elaborately and says: “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?” Clearly, she must have had a reason for addressing Him in this manner and for greatly honoring Him. The proof is that she did not laugh, but was surprisingly confused. Do not be astonished that she could not understand immediately what she should have grasped concerning the Lord, for even Nicodemus did not understand the words of the Lord. Contemplate the words of Nicodemus: “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter into his mother’s womb and be born?” In contrast, this woman is more respectful than Nicodemus She could have said something antagonistic such as: ‘If You possessed living water, You would not have asked water from me. You would first give it to Yourself. Now, you are just boasting.’ Actually she said: “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?” So she did not say a single objectionable word but rather answered very humbly from the beginning of the conversation. St. John Chrysostom “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?” [12] The Samaritans considered themselves to be Jacob’s children since they were one of the ten tribes who had been separated in the days of Jeroboam. However, as we know, they carried foreign blood as they mixed with different Gentile nations. *It is as though the Samaritan woman is saying to the Lord: ‘Our father Jacob has given us this well and he has not used any other. He and all his descendants drank out of it. They would not have done so if they had a better one. Therefore You cannot provide a better well or better water, and You cannot possess a better well than this one. So from where do You possess the water that You promise to give us unless You proclaim that you are greater than Jacob our father?’ St. John Chrysostom 22 Adam Clarke Comm. https://coptic-treasures.com/ It is right for the Samaritan woman to take pride in the well of her father Jacob. However, she does not know how to pass through it to the God of Jacob who is the Giver of the living water. It was necessary for her to soar with her father Jacob to have a vision of Jacob’s ladder that ascended from his head into the heavens. She would then have rejoiced because of the Cross that opens the gates of heaven to the whole world! It is also good that she discusses the subject of worship to God: will it be on the Mount at Jerusalem or at Gerizim? Together with the saints of the Old Testament, she needed to cross over to that which is beyond the mountains in order to enjoy worshipping God in spirit and in truth. She appears to be really great when she senses that He is the Messiah that generations have been awaiting and Who would tell them all things. Therefore she becomes qualified to hear Him proclaim to her: “I who speak to you am He.” She has reached the summit of divine proclamation from the Savior Himself and so has surpassed many others. “Jesus answered and said to her: “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again” [13] *He did not answer: ‘Yes, I am greater than Jacob’, but rather achieved His purpose through His conversation with her…He wished to clarify matters to her, and explain the degree of difference and lack of correspondence between the two persons23. St. John Chrysostom *The water in the dark depths of the well represents worldly pleasures. Mankind draws out of this using the utensils of lust…consider lust as the bucket, and worldly pleasures as the water drawn from the depth of the well. When a person gets to taste worldly pleasures which take the form of food, clothes, grandeur, and weapons, how can he possibly not thirst again?24 St. Ambrose “…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 eternal life” [14] The Lord does not reproach her for thinking that Jacob was greater than Him, or that the water of the well is better than living water. On the contrary, He begins, most gently, to inform her about the living water. He compares it with the water in Jacob’s well; and He underlines that there can be no comparison between water that satisfies the body for a while and water that satisfies and supports the soul forever, leaving it to want nothing else. The water that the Lord offers has distinct benefits: • It is a divine gift: ‘I shall give him…’ and so it grants divine joy: ‘Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation’ (Is. 12:3). • It grants eternal life that cancels all other needs for he ‘will never thirst’, and ‘He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst’ (Jn. 6:35). • It is inner water for the soul that ‘will become in him a fountain.’ Therefore the Giver of the living water woos the soul and says: ‘A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed’ (Sg. of Sol. 4: 12). • The depths are transformed into a source that overflows onto others: “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers 23 Hom. On John, 32:1 24 St. Augustine: On the Gospel of St. John, tractate15:16 https://coptic-treasures.com/ of living water’ (Jn 7:38). The Lord calls the Spirit ‘fire’ to indicate the grace that energizes and purifies; for the Spirit is able to obliterate sins and purge the soul. Besides, when He speaks of the Spirit as ‘water’, He proclaims that the Spirit has the power to clean and remove dirt; and indicates the great refreshment He promotes in the minds of those who accept Him. The prophets yearned for this living water when they heard the invitation extended to all: “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters…” (Is. 55:1). And also: “They shall neither hunger nor thirst, neither heat nor sun shall strike them, for He who has mercy on them will lead them, even by the springs of water He will guide them….” (Is. 49:10). Also according to the saying in the Book of the Revelation: “They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters” (Rev. 7: 16-17). * This is a reference to the redeeming water of baptism which has been truly offered once and will not be repeated again25. St. Cyprian * The Holy Bible refers to the Holy Spirit sometimes as ‘fire’ and at other times as ‘water.’ This is to indicate that these words describe the work of the Holy Spirit rather than His essence; for He is intangible and cannot be seen as a combination or a composition of different elements. John (the Baptist) declares that: “…He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire…” (Lk 2:!6). As for the other John (the Evangelist), he reports the words of the Lord Jesus Christ as follows: “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’ (Jn 7:38). He says this about the Holy Spirit who would be received by believers. In His conversation with the Samaritan woman, the Lord calls the Spirit ‘water’ for “whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst”26. The woman had heard this expression before: ‘the living water’ but had not understood its meaning. Therefore the Lord explains the meaning in the best way by saying: “…but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst…” since this water is far more sublime than any water. It is like someone who possesses a well in his own house and therefore would not suffer of thirst at any time. Similarly the person who possesses this water will not thirst at any moment of life with Him. St. John Chrysostom *The Lord clarifies that this well is the gift of the Holy Spirit, a spring that flows from a living Source. The Holy Spirit is a Source of eternal life as well… This living water is great, for it is the gift of the Holy Spirit…may it flow within me, may this that gives eternal life flow in and over me. May the Source flow on us and not far away from us; for wisdom says: “Drink water from your own cisterns, and running water from your own well. Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets?” (read Prov. 5:16-17). How can I protect my pots from suffering the cracks caused by sin, and avoid the leaking of the waters of eternal life? Teach us, O Lord, teach us as You have taught Your apostles saying: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and were thieves break in and steal” (Matt, 6: 19-20)27. 25 EP. 62 to Coecillius. 26 Hom. On John, 32:1 27 Of the Holy Spirit 1:16:181-182 https://coptic-treasures.com/ St. Ambrose *When the promise is fulfilled to a blessed person because he hungers and thirsts for righteousness (Matt 5:6); he drinks of the water that the Lord gives to him and he possesses a source of water within him that flows into everlasting life28. *It is worthy to note that the promise of water was not given to the Samaritan woman when she asked for it. It seems that the Lord wished to offer it in no other way but from the Source, so He tells her: “Go, call your husband, and come here” [16]29 Origen Origen devoted his energy and skills to study, interpret, and enjoy the Holy Bible from a very early age. He made a distinction between the waters of the Holy Bible and those which the Lord of glory offers. The Bible provides a wealth of divine mysteries that flow into the soul so we may enjoy fellowship with the Holy Trinity. However, the Lord Jesus Christ retains some mysteries which He offers secretly to the soul that is united to Him. He is the heavenly Bridegroom who overflows onto His bride with His mysteries within the wedding circle. *Indeed, the Holy Bible does not contain some aspects of the divine mysteries. These aspects most probably have to do with His Lordship and divinity; and are not communicated through a human voice or tongue. This is implied by the following words: ‘And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written’ (Jn 21:25). St. John was forbidden to write when he started to record what the seven thunders said (Rev 10:4).St. Paul also tells us that he heard words that were impossible to utter (2Cor. 12:4). No one has been allowed to pronounce these words or messages… I think that all the holy Books, even when fully comprehended, are just a preface to the principles and a brief introduction to all knowledge …the waters offered by the Lord Jesus Christ are those that surpass all that which is written (1Cor. 4:6). At the present time, it is not allowed to examine the matters that are beyond what is written (1Cor 4:6)… ‘Don’t try to understand things that are too hard for you, or investigate matters that are beyond your power to know’ (read Sirach 3:21)… Moreover, matters that have not entered the heart of man are greater than Jacob’s well. These matters are revealed from the Source of water that flows into eternal life for those who do not possess any longer a human heart, but rather are able to proclaim: “…we have the mind of Christ” (1Cor 2:16); for “…we know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches” (1Cor. 2:12-13)… In this light, the holy Books are just introductions and can be called Jacob’s well. Once they are comprehended, a person should speedily ascend out of them and go to the Lord Jesus Christ. Then he would enjoy the wealth of the Source that flows into eternal life. Not everyone draws water from Jacob’s well in the same manner Jacob, his children, and his livestock drank out of it (Jn. 4:12). That explains why the Samaritan woman come to it and drank but was thirsty. Probably Jacob and his children drank in a certain way and with full knowledge, whereas his livestock drank in a different manner and in the simplicity of such animals. The Samaritan woman drank too but in a different manner other than Jacob or his sons and livestock. Similarly, some are wise and drink out of the holy Books in the same manner as Jacob and his children. Others are more simple and innocent and are known as Christ’s ‘sheep’ 28 Commentary on John, Book 13:20 29Commentary on John, Book 13:25 https://coptic-treasures.com/ (Jn. 10:26).and they drink in the same manner as Jacob’s livestock. While there are others who misunderstand the holy Books and use inappropriate means to interpret them in the light of texts they have understood out of them. These drink in the same manner as the Samaritan woman before she came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ30. Origen *There is living water that says within me: “Come to the Father”31. St. Ignatius of Antioch *Since our nature has deteriorated and become as hard as stone due to the worship of idols, and has become frozen in the cold of atheism and unable to progress; therefore the Sun of Righteousness arose (Mal. 4:2).In this bitter cold, the coming of the spring appeared, and the warm southern winds erased all traces of the cold; while the shining rays of the Sun brought warmth to the whole world. Consequently, the human race that had turned into stone on account of the cold, became embraced by the warmth through the Holy Sprit who is the rays of the word of God. It is in this manner that the Holy Spirit once more becomes like the water that grants eternal life (Jn, 4:14)… ‘Who turned the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a fountain of waters (Ps 114:8)32. St. Gregory of Nicea ‘The woman said to Him: “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw” [15] *When the Lord tells the woman: “…the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into eternal life”, the woman responds immediately: “Sir, give me this water.” Do you see how the woman ascends gradually to higher knowledge? At first she thinks the Lord is a Jewish person who has deviated from his tradition…When she hears Him speak of ‘living water’ [14], she thinks that He is referring to tangible water and believes that this water could dismiss thirst. So far she has no concept of the nature of this water. Besides, she is confused as she thought it had more potential than the water she was familiar with. That is why she says “…give me this water; that I may not thirst again, nor come here to draw.” Have you noticed how the woman prefers the Lord over the leader of the fathers? Having indicated her opinion of Jacob and the degree of his greatness, she has come to know the One who is better than him. *At this point she gets to possess a clearer insight. However, she has not yet comprehended the whole picture; for she says: “…give me this water; that I may not thirst again, nor come here to draw” [15]. Here she reveals that she prefers Him over Jacob…for it is as though her inner self is saying: ‘I will no longer need this well since I will receive water from You….’After she had revealed her respect for Jacob, she has now met the One better than Him… her former thoughts, in this manner, did not impede her…and there was no rebellious argument33. St. John Chrysostom 30 Commentary on John, Book 13:27-39 31 Romans 7:2 32 Sg of Solomon : St. Gregory of Nicea: translated into Arabic by Dr George Nawar, Sermon 5 33 Hom. On John,32 https://coptic-treasures.com/ *Indeed, it now becomes clearly apparent that the Lord’s words are sincere: “…you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water” [10]. For when she says “…give me this water…” [15], she receives the living water. From now on she will never have a sense of loss when she gets thirsty; just as she will not need to come to Jacob’s well to draw water. She can now meditate on the Truth while she is away from Jacob’s water. She will do so in a manner that transcends mankind and is angelic since angels do not need to drink out of Jacob’s well. Every angel possesses an internal source of water flowing into eternal life. This source is provided by the Word and proclaimed by it and by Wisdom herself. There is no hope for a person who is not preoccupied with struggling to come to Jacob’s well and draw water out due to his thirst. Such a person cannot receive the water granted by the Word and which differs from Jacob’s well. That explains why many people are extremely handicapped since they are unable to train themselves for long periods in drawing water out of Jacob’s well34. Origen ‘Jesus said to her: “Go, call your husband, and come here” [16] In His conversation with the Samaritan woman, the Lord Jesus Christ moves on from the topic of the water to that of the woman’s marital life. Now that she has learned that she was in need of a new kind of water that could refresh and grant her eternal life, she feels the need for a bridegroom for her soul. To do that, she needs to re-evaluate her marital life. Without hurting her feelings, the Lord reveals his insight into her heart and His knowledge of her all her family secrets. His intention is to encourage her to recognize her sins and her need to repent. ‘The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband’…” [17] What a skilful divine healer! He uncovers the infirmity in the woman, and with His divine blade, begins to attack the body with skill, power and love. This leads her to confess what no other woman would pronounce: ‘I have no husband.’ Her confession is not the result of hurtful reproaching or of facing her with her shameful self. It is the result of His love. This arouses her conscience, and reveals to her the reality of the Lord. Consequently, she becomes trustful and admits the truth about her personal life as she gets to realize that He can heal her wounds and restore her spiritual health. * We have mentioned earlier that the law controls the soul; that everyone one submits himself to it; and that in the case of marriage the husband represents the law. To support this, we will quote from the apostle who writes to the Romans and says: “Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives…,” (Romans 7:1-2). So the husband impersonates the law as long as he lives. However, once he dies, she no longer is obligated to fulfill the duties a wife has towards her husband. The apostle, in this context says: “But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband….” Now that the law is dead in its literal sense, the soul is no longer considered adulterous if it gives itself to another man: in other words, the soul can now associate itself with 34 Commentary on John, Book 13:41-42 https://coptic-treasures.com/ the law according to the spirit. It is possible to say that the wife has died also since she leaves her dead husband- once a man dies and leaves his wife. We understand this statement through logical deduction as follows: “Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another, even to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God” (Romans 7:4). Therefore if the husband represents the law, and the Samaritan woman has a husband, then she has subjugated herself to some strange law based on a misunderstanding of the correct law. It is a fabricated law that is embraced by those who wish to live by it. In such a situation the divine Word requires the fabricating soul to uncover its shame by confessing the law that controls it. As the woman faces and despises herself because she does not belong legally to any husband, she looks for another bridegroom. The Lord wishes her to belong to another one: to the Word who has been raised from the dead, who will not be conquered or destroyed, but will endure for ever (Is. 40:8; 1Peter 1:25); and who controls and dominates all His enemies (Ps 8:7; Eph.1:22). This is because ‘…Christ having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death has no longer dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all, but the life that He lives He lives to God’ (Romans 6:9-10). He sits at the right hand of God (Heb 10:12), and all His enemies are subjugated under His feet (Ps110:1). That is why the Lord tells her: “Go, call your husband….” By replying: “I have no husband” [17], she convicts herself on account of her wrongful association with a man who is not her husband in such a manner35. Origen “…for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly” [18] In an amazingly gentle way, the Lord does not hurt her feelings on account of the fact that she had married five times previously and now lives with a man who is not her husband. Besides, He changes the conversation from being an argument about disagreements between the Jews and the Samaritans to a discussion about the new worship that would embrace the whole world. This would offer joy to the believer wherever he may be living. St. Jerome comments that in order to meet the Savior of the world our Lord Jesus Christ, it is appropriate to abandon the five men- who stand for the Books written by Moses; as well as the sixth man- who stands for inventors or heretics36. St. Augustine makes the following comment about this woman who has married five men and is living with a man who is not her husband: The five husbands represent the five senses since she has surrendered her soul to her physical senses. These could not satisfy her as they do not lead her soul to eternal life. They just satisfy temporary and short lived feelings. The one with whom she is living now, and who is not her husband, represents the mind (that is not sanctified) and that does not lead her to the Word and the Truth. Rather, it leads her to sin, and offers her incorrect knowledge. She needs the Bridegroom of her soul who will lead her to wisdom, truth, and fulfillment. *How great is this woman’s wisdom, and how humbly does she accept the Lord’s reproach…it is noteworthy to mention two points about this reproach: the Lord mentions the number of her previous husbands, and reproaches her about the one with whom she now lives although she tried to conceal this matter. So how does she react? She shows no sign of annoyance, she does not leave and run away, nor does she consider His words humiliating. On 35 Commentary on John, Book 13:43-50 36 Letter 108:13 https://coptic-treasures.com/ the contrary, she expresses her admiration and her respect for Him increased as she says: “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.” Notice her composure for she does not rush hastily, but she reveals respect and admiration as she says: “I perceive…”- that is ‘I see…’ “…that You are a prophet”37. St. John Chrysostom *I think that every soul that embraces the Christian religion does so through the reading of the Holy Books. She begins by taking in matters that can be comprehended through the senses and are known as physical matters. These have five husbands- one for every sense. However, after the soul keeps company with matters that are comprehended by the senses, it desires later on to transcend above them and rush towards matters comprehended by the spirit. At this point, the soul collides with corrupt teachings based on symbolic spiritual meanings. Consequently, she draws near to another husband, other than the five to whom she sends divorce documents. It is as though she has decided to live with that sixth one….’ We too live with that sixth husband until the Lord Jesus Christ arrives and enables us to discover the character of such a husband. When the Word of the Lord arrives and enters into a conversation with us, we reject that husband and say: “I have no husband”; and then the Lord will respond saying: “You have well said, ‘I have no husband’ [17]38 Origen *When the Samaritan woman mentioned in the Gospel admits that the man living with her is the sixth one, the Lord reproaches her as he was not her husband. As far as I am concerned, I feel free to announce once more that the second marriage is ‘digamy’ and is not encouraged by the Church, and even the third marriage ‘trigamy’ is rejected. A woman may marry for a fourth time…or for more times as long as it is a legal marriage…yet although a second marriage is not forbidden, it is not recommended… for “ All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful” (1 Cor 6:12)39. St. Jerome “The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet” [19] As the Lord reveals Himself gradually to her, the woman discovers that He knows all her hidden secrets. According to her understanding, this means that He is a prophet and so she trusts in His ability to answer truthfully the question that puzzles so many: ‘Will true worship take place in Jerusalem as the Jews claim, or will it be on Mount Gerizim according to the Samaritans and which had been blessed?’ Some believe it is the same mountain upon which Abraham and later Jacob had built the altar (Genesis 12:6-7; 33:18-20). The Samaritans had handed the altar over that was built by Sanballat (332BC) to Antiochus Epiphanus and asked him to dedicate it to Jupiter Olympius. They had also denied they had any relationship with the Jews in order to escape the bitter sufferings that Antiochus poured imposed upon them. That is how the conversation took a turn and became about the subject of worship: ‘will it be in Jerusalem or on Mount Gerizim?’ *What an amazing situation, and what great philosophy this woman appears to possess! Note how she accepts the Lord’s reproach in a most pure manner when He uncovers her hidden act. She has no problem with that and she neither leaves nor runs away. Indeed, her amazement 37 Hom. on John, 32. To read: the Samaritan Woman by St. John the Beloved’s Publishing House, Cairo 38 Commentary on St. John, Book 13:51 39 Commentary on St. John, Book 13:52 https://coptic-treasures.com/ increases as she says to Him: “I perceive that You are a prophet.” *Reflect on the fair judgment of this woman who bases her decision on the actual facts, whether these have to do with our father Jacob or with the Lord Jesus Christ. The Jews did not react in this manner, for when they saw Him drive out devils they said ‘He has a devil’; and they did not conclude that He is greater than Jacob, the father of all tribes40. St. John Chrysostom *The husband is on His way, but he has not come completely…she has begun to invite the husband and to dismiss her illicit lover 41. St. Augustine Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship: [20] According to the Samaritans, Mount Gerizim is sacred and people should worship God there. It is the mountain with the well right on top of its slope. It is said that Abraham built an altar here, and also where he met Melchizedek who blessed him. On this mountain, Moses the prophet was commanded to bless the people when they crossed the Jordan. This is where Simeon, Levi, Judah, Isaachar, Joseph and Benjamin had stood; while Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali stood on Mount Ebal when the curse on idol worship was pronounced to all the men of Israel (Deut 27:11-13). From a different perspective, the Jews considered Zion to be the place where God resides and that it was chosen by the father of all people. Therefore they built the Temple there and the Levite priests and people worshipped in this place. *When she believed the Lord to be a prophet, she did not make a worldly request; or ask for physical health, possessions, or wealth. She was concerned with religious matters [20]42. * Do you note how the woman becomes more insistent in her search for understanding? She is the same person as the one who was concerned about her thirst. She did not want this to trouble her anymore; and now she asks Him about religious matters. St. John Chrysostom * If God were flesh, it would be correct to worship Him on a mountain which is a material substance. It would also be correct to worship him in a temple43. * What an amazing matter! He lives on high and He is close to the humble. He sees the humble, but ‘the proud He knows from afar’ (Ps 138:6)… Therefore do you ask for a mountain? Come down so that you may draw close to Him. Should you ascend? Yes, ascend, but do not ask for a mountain. It is said: “Whose heart is set on pilgrimage as they pass through the valley of Baca (84:6). The valley represents humility. May you apply all that within your heart. Even when you wish to seek for an elevated place, a holy place, have an altar within you for ‘the temple of God is holy, which temple you are’ (1Cor 3:17). Do you wish to pray in a temple? If you begin by being the temple of God, then the mountain is within you; for He listens to those who pray in His temple44. St. Augustine 40 Hom. On John, 32. 41 St. Augustine: On the Gospel of St. John, tractate 15:23 42 Hom. on John, 32:2. To read: the Samaritan Woman by St. John the Beloved’s Publishing House, Cairo 43 St. Augustine: On the Gospel of St. John, tractate 15:24 44 St. Augustine: On the Gospel of St. John, tractate 15:25 https://coptic-treasures.com/ ‘Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father…”’ [21] The hour has come when the Son of Man has descended in order to lift mankind away from the letter to the spirit. What should preoccupy believers is not the place but their status as children of the heavenly Father. * The sincere and dedicated person is able to overcome even such an obstacle of location since he worships the Lord in a deeper meditative and divine manner. Just as the angels do not worship God in Jerusalem (even the Jews agree about that), so it is for those who are equal to the angels; for they worship Him in a better manner than those who worship in Jerusalem (Lk 20:36). They intend on worshipping the Father in a better manner and not in Jerusalem45. Origen * He does not show preference to any place, but focuses on one’s intentions46. St. John Chrysostom * This saying was true about the Jews. However, it did not apply to all of them. It did not apply to the Jews who had rejected the faith; but it applied to those who had acted like the apostles and the prophets. It applied to all of those saints who had sold their possessions, and had placed the money at the feet of the disciples; for “God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew” (Romans 11:2)47. * It is as though she is saying: ‘The Jews struggle on account of the temple, and we on account of this mountain, but when the (Messiah) will come, He will despise the mountain and discard the temple. He will teach us everything so we will learn how to worship in the spirit and in truth.’ She has recognized the One who is able to teach her; but she has not realized as yet that He is teaching her at this very moment. Now she has become qualified to enjoy discovering Him48. St. Augustine “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation comes of the Jews…” [22] By saying: “…what you do not know…” the Lord indicates the Prophetic Books which the Samaritans had rejected. These Books prepare the way of knowledge and establish the person of the redeeming Messiah. The words: “…we worship what we know…” refer to the divine Books as a safe path to true knowledge and worship. The Lord Jesus Christ includes Himself among the crowd of worshippers since He has humbly become the Son of Man. The only Son of Man is not ashamed to proclaim His obedience, genuflection, and worship to the Father; while there are many human beings who arrogantly belittle worship and consider it a waste of time. “…for salvation comes of the Jews… ”: eternal salvation came from the Jews (Rom. 9:5) and it was first offered to them. The divine teachings were delivered to them (Rom. 3:2); as well as the ministry to God (Rom 9:4). The Messiah was born of them and they were the ones who began to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. * “…for salvation comes of the Jews…”: The Lord’s words are intended to convey the 45 Commentary on John, Book 13:98-99 46 Hom. On John, 33:1 47 St. Augustine: On the Gospel of St. John, tractate 15:26 48 St. Augustine: On the Gospel of St. John, tractate 15:27 https://coptic-treasures.com/ following: ‘The blessings granted to this world proceeds from the Jews (since the knowledge about God and the rejection of idols proceeded from them. In the case of your people- the Samaritans, you have received the teachings about worship from the Jews although you do not fulfill them correctly)...Accordingly, St. Paul indicates His coming in these words: “…of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came who is over all, the eternally blessed God” (Rom. 9:5). Note how He praises the Old Testament and clarifies that It is the basis of all blessings49. * The Lord does not explain to the Samaritan woman why the fathers worshipped on this mountain, or why the Jews worship in Jerusalem. By being silent about this, He dismisses and cancels any further importance to both places. The Lord awakens her soul as He leads her to understand that neither the Samaritans nor the Jews could offer any act as great as the one foretold and that will be offered to us. Then He points to a distinctive point between them and concludes that in this respect the Jews are more honorable. Yet He does not show a preference for either place; in spite of the clarification the Lord gives concerning the Jews. It is as though He is saying: ‘No one should argue any more about worship in a certain place, yet the Jews have instinctively obtained that honor more than You Samaritans’; for He says: “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know ….” If you wonder: How is it that the Samaritans did not know who they worshipped? My answer is: ‘They worshipped God because they believed that He could be confined to a specific place and be on their side. Their messenger told the king of Assyria: “……………………….” (2 Kgs 26??). They believed that there is a god with limited powers and they accordingly worshipped and sought to gain his favor. As a result, they continued to worship idols besides worshipping the God of the whole world. The Lord said: “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know …” because most of the Jews- even though some differed- did not follow this kind of thinking since they knew that God is the God of the whole world50. St. John Chrysostom * Since this woman addresses the Lord as she would address a Jewish person and believes Him to be a prophet, the Lord answers her as a Jewish person who is spiritually acquainted with the mysteries of the Law: “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know ….” He uses the plural pronoun ‘we’ as He includes Himself with other human beings. But how can He do so except by reference to His body; and in order to reveal that He is responding as an incarnated person; then He adds the words: “…salvation is of the Jews51.” St. Ambrose “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” [23] Instead of being preoccupied with the place of worship it is essential to be concerned with the condition of inner thought, with God’s altar within the soul, and the manner of offering worship to God who is a spirit. Indeed, God the Father seeks those who worship Him with their hearts. Those are rare to find and Jeremiah reports this concerning them: “For who is this who pledged his heart to approach Me?” says the Lord (Jer.30:21). The path to worship in the spirit is narrow for in following that path a person seeks the glory of God and not of men. 49 Hom. On John, 33:1 50 Hom. On John, 33:1 51 Of the Christian Faith, Book 5, Ch 4 (50) https://coptic-treasures.com/ Worshipping in the spirit transforms the heart into the real Zion for which the Lord yearns and which the Psalmist speaks about saying: ‘For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation: “This is My resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it”’ (Ps 132:13-14). * All the Jews and Samaritans were greatly concerned about their bodies and they purified themselves in so many different ways. For this reason the Lord explains that purity is not achieved by the purification of the hands but through the purification of the mind which is that intangible part of our being. With our minds we worship God who is ethereal. In the same manner, offerings cannot take the form of slaughtered bulls or sheep, but by the sanctification of one’s being to God. Exhaust your soul and in this way offer a living sacrifice52 * As the Lord states the truth, He discards the Samaritans and the Jews; for although the Jews are better than the Samaritans, yet they are lesser than those coming into the faith-this indicates how much the symbol is lesser than the reality. He is speaking about the Church who knows how to worship in a manner that is correct and appropriate to God53. St. John Chrysostom * It is important for a person to observe that true worshippers worship the Father in spirit and in truth. They should do so not only in the future but as of the present time as well54. * The Father asks of those He prepares to become true worshippers. They need to be purified and to be taught the right teachings through the Word. Moreover, He seeks them through His Son who has come to look for the lost (Lk 19:10; Ezek. 34:16) Origen “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth” [24] * By saying ‘in truth’ the Lord writes off the Jews and the Samaritans. The reason for this is that those Jews, even though they were better than the Samaritans, yet they were far behind those who would be called to worship ‘in spirit and in truth’….It is true that God had sought those people in the past…yet He had done so out of His tenderness and compassion and in order to gather them into the fold of the faithful. You might ask: ‘Who are those who worship in truth?’ My answer is: ‘They are those who do not associate their worship with a specific location for they are attracted and led by the spirit. St. Paul accordingly says: ‘…whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son…’ (Rom. 1:9); and in another passage he says: ‘I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service’ (Rom. 12:1). The Lord’s words to the Samaritan woman: “God is Spirit …” has no other meaning except that He does not have a body. Consequently, worship dedicated to the Incorporeal should be free from a body too. We should offer worship with that which is incorporeal within us. In other words, worship should proceed from our spirit and with the purity of our mind. This is why the Lord says: “…those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth”55. St. John Chrysostom * I cannot be so bold as to confine the infinite power of God or bind it to a narrow section of the earth since heaven and earth are incapable of containing the One who is the Infinite. Every 52 Hom. On John, 33:2 53 Hom. 33 PG 59:191 54 Hom. 33 PG 59:191 55 Hom. On John,33 https://coptic-treasures.com/ believer will be judged according to the extent of his faith and not according to his habitation in one place or the other. True worshippers worship the Father, neither in Jerusalem nor in Gerizim56. St. Jerome * Being the son of David, the Lord Jesus Christ submits to time, to the plan of God, and to relative humility. However, from the aspect of His divinity, he is not subject to time or place, for ‘who will declare His generation?” (Is. 53:8). “…God is Spirit…” for He who is Spirit has been born of the Spirit, being incorporeal and descendent of the Incomprehensible and Mysterious One. The Son Himself speaks to the Father saying: “The Lord has said to Me ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’” This ‘day’ is not a temporal one but an eternal one. The ‘today’ used here refers to an age before the world began and not to a temporal time: ‘I have begotten You from the womb before the morning star57.’58 St. Cyril of Jerusalem * It should not amaze us that the Father and the Son are considered ‘Spirit.’ We will elaborate on that when we deal with the topic ‘One in the Name’… Let them read that the Father is called the ‘Spirit’ and according to the Lord who says in the Bible: “…For God is Spirit…” [24].The Lord Jesus Christ is called ‘the Spirit’ according to Jeremiah who says: “………………..59 St. Ambrose * The words “God is Spirit…” do not change the facts that the Holy Spirit has a name of His own and that He is the great gift that is offered to us. As the Samaritan woman has placed boundaries for God confining Him in the mountain or in the temple, she is told that God embraces all things and is All- inclusive in Himself. Besides, He is intangible and incomprehensible; and therefore should be worshipped through intangible channels. Therefore the Lord teaches that God who is a Spirit must be worshipped in spirit. He reveals the limitless freedom, knowledge, and space opened up when we worship in spirit God the Spirit60. St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitier ‘The woman said to Him: “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things” [25] Finally the conversation turns to the subject of the Messiah. When the woman no longer opposes the Lord’s words; but rather senses the power within her, she poses the question that has preoccupied all the Jews and Samaritans: When will the Messiah come? All were awaiting that event, for in spite of the enmity that existed between them, yet they shared in this expectation. It could be that many teachers at that time were discussing this matter concerning the fulfillment of the divine promise and specifically the coming of the Messiah and His reign. Even though she was corrupt on account of her sin, she still yearned to know the truth and humbly looked forward to the advent of the Savior. This yearning prepared her to the meeting with the Lord, getting to know Him, and witnessing for Him. * Someone may ask: ‘How did the Samaritans get to expect the advent of the Messiah while they accepted Moses only?’ We respond as follows: ‘They get that out of the Books written by Moses, for he says: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from 56 Letter 58:3 57 Ps. 11:3 “………… 58 Essay 11:5 59 Of the Holy Spirit, Book 1:9:105 60 On the Trinity, Book 2 (31) https://coptic-treasures.com/ your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear.’ (Deut 18:15). * She was just a poor woman who had no prior knowledge of the Holy Books, therefore the Lord does not discuss what is written in them. He leads her to faith by taking her through the path of the water61. * For the Jews who were constantly asking the question: ‘How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly” (Jn10:24), the Lord did not give them a satisfying answer. However, He clearly informs the woman, saying: “I…am He” because, unlike the Jews, she was not biased and possessed a fair mind and conscience. They did not ask in order to learn and were constantly mocking Him…in contrast, she listened and believed and called others, as well, to the faith. On the whole, she is remarkable in her timing, control, and faith62. St. John Chrysostom Jesus said to her: “I who speak to you am He” [26] The Lord has not used such direct expressions as: “I who speak to you am He” when He spoke to the Jews or even with His own disciples. *The harvest was ready for the prophets had laid the seeds to grow. Now they had become fully grown and waiting for the apostles to harvest them…The name ‘Messiah’ was not new to the Samaritan woman and she truly was awaiting His coming. She actually believed that He would come. From where did she possess such faith unless Moses had sowed it?63 St. Augustine * Indeed, the Lord did not give the Jews a clear answer while they constantly said to Him: “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly” (Jn. 10:24); whereas He clearly informs the Samaritan woman: “I … am He.” St. John Chrysostom 12- THE SUCCESSFUL TESTIMONY OF THE SAMARITAN WOMAN ‘And At this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said: “What do You seek?” or “Why are You talking with her?” [27] It did not occur to the disciples that their Teacher, whose great kingdom they awaited, would speak to a poor Samaritan woman. She did not belong to the lost flock of Israel, and in their minds she could not possibly have a role in His kingdom. So why was He talking to her? Besides, it was not usual for men to speak with women in the streets, even if they were their wives. There were numerous laws laid by the Jewish leaders concerning this matter. * The Lord Jesus Christ allowed Himself to talk with a poor Samaritan woman. However, the disciples were so astonished that they did not question Him as to why He talked with her. As disciples they were politely observant and aware of their ranking as His disciples; and in this light they paid Him respect, felt embarrassed, and honored Him as they would behave towards an amazing friend. * What caused the disciples to be astonished? It is due to His great humility and lack of any conceit that He engaged in a conversation with a woman who was not only poor, but a 61 Hom. on John, 33:2 62 Hom. on John, 33:2 63 Sermon on N. T. Lessons, 51:2 https://coptic-treasures.com/ Samaritan as well64. St. John Chrysostom ‘The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men…’ [28] When the Samaritan woman received the divine truth she abandoned her waterpot and forgot the reason that had brought her to the well. So she returned without getting water. However she returned to offer the water of truth to the people of the city. She left her waterpot because she did not want it to impede her from running to the city and giving testimony to the truth. She informed everyone in the streets that she had found the treasure she has been looking for, and that she has found the Source of her inner joy. Earlier on the Lord had asked her to call her husband [16], and here she is calling all the men of the city and succeeded in her task. She does not inform them that He discussed with her serious religious matters concerning worship and the manner it should be conducted. Instead, she informs them of how He has touched her heart truly because He knows her secrets, how He attracted her to Him by His powerful words, and consequently how this led her to recognize His person and that He is the Messiah. * She could have abandoned her waterpot which was in a deep well. She took pride in its depth, in other words she took pride in the teachings. However, she has come to despise the thoughts she had accepted previously. Now she accepts a better pot than the earlier waterpot for it contains water ‘springing up into everlasting life’ [14]65. * Here is a woman who proclaims the Messiah to the Samaritans. At the end of the Gospels there is also another woman who is the first one to see Him and who informs the disciples about the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ {Jn 20:18)66. * This is all what this Samaritan woman had done: she had a relationship with five husbands, then she got involved with a sixth man who was not her legal husband, and finally she renounced that last man, abandoned her waterpot, and rested reverently on a Saturday. Besides, she brought great benefits to those who lived with her in the same city. Based on her old beliefs, they shared incorrect teachings with her. This was the fault that led them to leave the city and come to the Lord Jesus Christ67. Origen * Having received the Lord Jesus Christ into her heart, what else could she do but abandon her waterpot and run to preach the Gospel? She banished lust and hurried to proclaim the truth. May those who wish to preach the Gospel learn to abandon their waterpot at the well68. St. Augustine * She had come to drink water but once she got to know the true Source she immediately despised the material source. In this simple incident she teaches us to surpass the tangible matters of life when we hear about spiritual matters…she abandoned her waterpot without receiving an order from anyone; and she hurried, being carried on wings of joy and delight, to do what the evangelists have done. She called a whole city, and not just one or two as Andrew and Philip had 64 Hom. on John, 33:3 65 Commentary on John, Book 13:175 66 Commentary on John, Book13:179 67 Commentary on John, Book 13:181 68 St. Augustine: On the Gospel of St. John, tractate 15:30 https://coptic-treasures.com/ done. And she brought them to the Lord Jesus Christ69. * The Samaritan woman believed immediately and so she appears to be wiser than Nicodemus. Moreover, she is more courageous and steadfast than him since he did not go and call others to hear the words of the Lord Nicodemus had listened to thousands of many more words from the Lord, yet he did not speak publicly or frankly to anyone. This woman did what the apostles had not done; for she preached to everyone and invited them to come to the Lord. In this manner, she led an entire city to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ70. St. John Chrysostom “Come see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”[29] The words of the woman reveal her inner joy: she has met the Messiah, the Savior of the world and so she came to enjoy the One who satisfies her depths. The six men did not give her any joy. However, her meeting with her Savior created in her the spirit of joy and inspired her to work in order to bring others to salvation. The invitation was not for them to come and see something strange; or that they might engage into a conversation with Him. Rather, they were invited to enjoy the Discerner of hearts, the Messiah and Savior of the world. This is one of the most important features that the Jews expected to find in the Messiah: that He knows what is in men’s hearts. Towards the end of the First Century and at the beginning of the Second Century Barchochab proclaimed that he is the Messiah. As he deceived many, they brought to him people that he did not know- some were criminals and some were innocent- and they asked him to signal out the first from the latter. When he was unable to do so, they killed him. The Samaritan woman was wise in her manner of preaching. She did not dictate to them her own belief in Him, but wisely asked them to come, see, and verify for themselves concerning the person of the Lord: “Could this be the Christ?”[29] * Notice once more the great wisdom of the woman as she neither proclaims the truth clearly nor does she remain silent or seek to attract them through her own convincing words. Rather, she invites them to listen to Him so that they might come to share the same opinion she had. That is why, in fact, they accepted her words71. * She is not embarrassed to say that He had told her everything that she had done…for material matters did not matter any longer. Besides, she is determined to disregard worldly glory or shame. Indeed, she had become devoted to one thing only and that was this holy torch ignited within her and which filled her being72. * “Could this be the Christ?”[29] She did not want to draw them based on her own determination and conviction. Rather, she wanted then to draw their own conclusion after hearing Him. This is what made her words more acceptable to them…she did not say ‘Come and believe’ but said “Come see…” and this expression sounded more gentle and appealing to them73. St. John Chrysostom * There is no person who is happier than a Christian person for such a person has the promise of the kingdom of God. No one struggles with more power than a Christian as he/she 69 Hom. on St. John, 34:1 70 Hom on John, 32 71 Hom. 34, PG 59:195 72 Hom on John, 34:1 73 Hom on John, 34:1 https://coptic-treasures.com/ daily encounters dangers. No one is more powerful since a Christian is capable of conquering Satan…can anyone be found who is more sinful than the Samaritan woman? Yet she is not the only one who believed…and after her six men, she finds the one Lord. She not only gets acquainted with the Lord at the well- that same One whom the Jews failed to recognize in the temple- but she brings salvation to many. She does so while the disciples were busy buying food that would satisfy the Lord who was hungry and tired74. St. Jerome * The words spoken to the Samaritan woman affect her so much that she abandons her waterpot and neglects her purpose for coming to the well. She returns to her city to draw all the people there to the Lord. Just contemplate her caution and understanding: she had come to drink and when she finds the true Source, she despises the tangible one. She therefore becomes our teacher since she undertakes, as much as she can, to do the work which the Lord’s apostle have done. They too had abandoned their nets when they responded to the Lord’s call. On her own, she decides to leave her waterpot and undertakes the task of a preacher. She does not call just one or two persons but she invites a whole city; and it is difficult to report the exact figure or the huge numbers who came to the Lord Jesus Christ through her. Notice the woman’s understanding as she leads the people of the city to the Lord. She does not tell them: ‘Come, see the Christ’; but rather uses the same strategy the Lord used to appeal to her: “Come see a Man who told me all things that I ever did.” The woman said: “Come see a Man who told me all things that I ever did.” She is not embarrassed to say this, even though she could have said something else, such as: ‘Come and see someone who is prophesying.’ However, when the divine fire touches any of us, no earthly consideration- such as honor or shame- occupies our minds. Notice the woman’s wisdom as she does not confirm that He is the Messiah for a clear reason. At the same time, she is not silent since she desires to draw them to Him. She seeks to do so by drawing them to hear Him; rather than by convincing them of her own belief. St. John Chrysostom * The Jews rejected the Lord Jesus Christ when He came, whereas the devils recognized Him. David, the Lord’s grandfather, is not ignorant about Him when he says: “I will prepare a lamp for My Anointed…(Ps. 132:17). This light is the brilliance of Sonship according to some interpreters (2 Peter 1:19); or according to others, the body which the Lord took from the holy Virgin Mary … Moreover, the prophet is not ignorant about the subject of the Lord Jesus Christ as he says: ‘He has proclaimed His Anointed among mankind’ (…..4:13-Septuagint Translation). None of the prophets are ignorant about Him: Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, as well as all the other prophets perceived Him. Even the devils recognized Him so that He rebuked them… The chief priest did not recognize Him, whereas the devils acknowledged Him. The chief priest did not perceive Him, whereas the Samaritan woman proclaimed Him, saying: ““Come see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”[4:29]75. St. Cyril of Jerusalem ‘Then they went out of the city and came to Him.’ [30] 74 Letter 125:1 75 Essay 10:15 https://coptic-treasures.com/ The time had come when the lepers would preach the great salvation to the people of Samaritan origin (2Kgs. 7:3). Now here is a Samaritan woman, who in spite of her painful past, becomes the first one to preach the good news to Samaria. Consequently, she wins the whole city to the credit of the Lord Jesus Christ. St. John Chrysostom ‘In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying “Rabbi, eat”[31] While the Samaritan women hurried to preach with all her strength, the disciples were busy offering food to the Lord, for He was hungry and tired. ‘But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know” [31] Origen comments: ‘The body requires food that is different from that of the spirit. And just as the bodies themselves have different needs regarding the kind and quantity of food, so too do the spirits and souls have different requirements. The Lord Jesus Christ seizes every chance to lift the minds and hearts of the disciples to matters beyond time and to the heavens themselves. He reveals to them the extent of His joy that arises from the redemption of souls. This represents His delicious food. He finds his satisfaction and comfort in toiling for every soul and in fulfilling His Father’s plan. He will not rest and will persevere in the task until He leaves this world. * Indeed, the same nourishing words and meditative thoughts and the actions relevant and accompanying them are not suitable for all souls. Truly, there are vegetables and there is food for the strong (Rom. 14:2; Heb. 5:2) which may not promote progress to the needy souls if they are offered at the same time. In this context, St. Peter says: ‘…as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the world, that you may grow thereby’ (1Peter 2:2). The same thing applies to some who are like children as in the case of the Corinthians and to whom St. Paul says: ‘I fed you with milk and not solid food…’ (1 Cor.3:2). May those who are weak eat vegetables since they do not believe (Rom.14:2).This is what St. Paul is teaching when he says: “For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables” (Rom.14:2). Truly, there is a time when ‘better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred’ (read Prov.15:17). ‘But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil’ (Heb. 5:14). However, there is also food that is hateful as we learn in the Book of Kings when the men told Elisha: “O man of God, there is death in the pot” (2Kgs.4:40)… It is appropriate to lift our thoughts from the level of unreasoning creatures and mankind to that of the angels who are refreshed by food. They are not completely self-sufficient and as the Psalmist says: ‘Men ate angels’ food…’ (Ps. 78:25). Now we need to go back to the statement before us concerning the food of the Lord Jesus Christ and with which the disciples were not familiar until that moment. The Lord truly says: “I have food to eat of which you do not know” [4:31] because the disciples are not aware of what the Lord was doing: He was obeying the will of He who has sent Him and fulfilling His perfect work [34]. He performs the will of God which is one and the same as His own will76. Origen St. Augustine comments that the food of the Lord is found in the accomplishment of the 76 Commentary on John, Book 13:206-217 https://coptic-treasures.com/ Father’s will and in drinking of the woman’s faith in Him. In this manner, the Lord feeds her of His body which is the Church- in other words- she becomes a member in His body. Origen considers that every reasoning creature, and not just man alone, will enjoy perfection through the Lord Jesus Christ since they all are God’s creation77. * When each one of us becomes perfect through the Lord Jesus Christ, and since he is the work of God, then he/she can say: ‘ I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness…’ (2 Tim. 4:7-8)78. Origen * The Lord was sitting and felt hungry and thirsty; then he got nourished and filled by the faith of the Samaritan woman. St. Jerome * Would it have been amazing if this woman had not understood the Lord’s words about the water? Notice how the disciples could not understand His words about the food79. St. Augustine Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?”[33] The disciples do not understand that the divine Word had supported Elijah in the wilderness near the Brook of Cherith, where He sent him daily food through a raven (1 Kgs.17:4- 6). Moreover, angels had come to serve the Lord Jesus Christ when He was in the desert (Matt.4:11). Jesus said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know,” [34] St. Ambrose notes that the Lord’s words here refer to the effect of the Lord in men’s lives. This leads them to do God’s will and achieve His work. Consequently, the work which men do because they are members in the body of the Lord Jesus Christ is considered work done by the Lord Himself80. What we eat, drink, read, our manner of service, and our worship are all devoted to the service of souls and their salvation. This is the will of our heavenly Father, and this is the delicious food for our souls. Souls have been ruined due to ignorance. However, God has granted us the keys to the Kingdom- and that is His holy Bible- and the knowledge of His Word. *The banquet which Solomon speaks about is not achieved simply through regular food. Indeed, this has to mean that it can be achieved through good works. For how can the soul enjoy a banquet more wisely than through good works; or what can preoccupy the minds of the righteous more easily than knowing how to achieve good works? What other food can bring more joy than that of doing God’s will? The Lord informs us that He alone richly possesses that food, and as He says in the Bible: “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me” [34]. It is with this food that people rejoice as they get equipped with the amazing knowledge, and which teaches them to climb up to the heavenly pleasures. Then they are able to comprehend the extent of such joy, the purity it implies and which the mind can understand. Therefore may we eat the bread of wisdom and get filled and satiated with the Word of God. For the life of man, which has been created in the image of God, is not fulfilled by bread alone “but by every word that 77 Commentary on John, Book 13:245 78 Commentary on John, Book 13: 242 79 Letter 108:13 80 St. Augustine: On the Gospel of St. John, tractate 15:31 https://coptic-treasures.com/ proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt.4:4). The saintly Job says: “They waited for me as for the rain, and they opened their mouth wide as for the spring rain…” (Job 29:23)81. * Since He finds His food in doing His Father’s will, then He also finds it in sharing our sufferings82. St. Ambrose * “Let my beloved come to his garden and eat its pleasant fruits’ (Sg. Of Sol. 4:16). This is a bold expression coming from a soul filled with fervor. It arises magnificently and surpasses all expression. Who is the one that the bride invites to her banquet which consists of her own fruit? For whom does she prepare her banquet which she has filled out of her own sources? Who is the one that the bride invites to eat from what she has provided? He is the One who “…of Him and through Him and to Him are all things…” (Rom. 11:36). He gives everyone his food in due season…; He opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing (Ps. 145:15,16); He is ‘the bread which came down from heaven…’ (Jn. 6:41). He is the One who gives life to the world and makes the waters flow from His own source of life. He is the One for Whom the bride prepares her table and she is the garden in which living trees grow. The trees are symbols for us and our loyal spirits represent the food that is presented to Him. For the Lord says to His disciples: “I have food to eat of which you do not know,”(Jn 4:32,34). His food is to achieve the will of God for He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:4) This salvation is the food that is prepared for Him. Our free will gives the fruit to God, that is our souls so that He may pluck its small branch. At the beginning, the bride enjoyed the sweet apple and said, “his fruit was sweet to my taste.” (Sg. Of Sol. 2:3) then she herself became the beautiful sweet fruit that is offered to the shepherd so that He may enjoy it.83 Saint Gregory of Nyssa “Do not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest.” [35] The Lord Jesus Christ hid the spiritual secret meaning behind His talk about the harvest. For, He means the harvest of the kingdom of heaven that shall be achieved after four periods of time. In the first period man was in the Garden of Eden where he did not offer the suitable fruit. Then there was the period of the natural law (the father patriarchs) followed by the era of Moses’ Law, and finally, the fourth period is that of grace. The harvest of each era is for the kingdom of heaven. The harvest is complete with the coming of Christ on the clouds. This is the end of the fourth era. The Lord Jesus Christ desires the harvest that will not be achieved without serious work with joy and perseverance. Work is definitely necessary and urgent in order that the harvest may be enjoyable. He sees the coming harvest when many Samaritans come to Him through the service of the Samaritan woman. They will believe in Him and will be qualified for wearing the white 81 Duties of the Clergy 1:31:163-164 82 Sermon Against Auxentius, 14 83 Song of Solomon by Saint Gregory of Nyssa, translated into Arabic by Dr. George Nawar, Sermon 10. https://coptic-treasures.com/ clothes. + “Lift up your eyes.” This expression occurs in many places in the Holy Bible for the divine Word urges us to raise our thoughts and vision upwards. It is written in Isaiah, “Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who has created these things” (Is 40:26). + When the Savior began to speak about the blessings, He ‘lifted up His eyes’ toward His disciples and said, “Blessed” are these and those (see Luke 6:20). That is because below there is no real disciple of Jesus nor is there anyone reposing in Abraham’s bosom. The rich man who suffered ‘lifted up his eyes’ to see Abraham and Lazarus in his bosom (Lk 16:23).84 + No one lifts up his eyes if he continues in doing the works of the flesh.85 + The Word who is present with the disciples urges His listeners to lift up their eyes to the fields of the Holy Bible and to the fields of the aim of everything existing so that they may see the brilliant light of the truth and His splendor everywhere. For according to Solomon, “they are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.” (Prov. 8:9)86 Origen Saint Jerome wrote to Abigaus, the priest of Baetica in Spain, to console him because of his physical blindness and to revive in him the spirit of joy because of the inner perception that he enjoyed. + Saint Jerome wrote, “it befits you that you do not grieve. You are deprived of those two physical eyes that the ants, insects and reptiles have. You should rather be happy that you have the eyes mentioned in the Song of Solomon: ‘Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes’ (Sg. Of Sol. 4:9). This is the eye that sees God, and that Moses mentions when he says, ‘I will now turn aside, and see this great sight’ (Ex 3:3). Jeremiah wrote, ‘for death is come up into our windows’ (Jer 9:21 LXX). Furthermore, Christ told His disciples to lift up their eyes and behold His word ‘for they are already white for harvest’ [35].”87 Saint Jerome “And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.” [36] Now the LORD Christ approaches as the sower who sows the word in the heart of the Samaritan woman and in very few hours He takes the role of the reaper. He is full of joy because of the fruit that has saved all the residents of that town, for they say, “this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” [42] + Christ means the spiritual reaper because the fruit of the material harvest does not extend to eternal life; it has only temporary life. On the other hand, the fruit of the spiritual 84 Commentary on John, Book 13:274-276. 85 Commentary on John, Book 13:278. 86 Commentary on John, Book 13:284.s) 87 Letter 76:2. https://coptic-treasures.com/ harvest reaches a life without senility or death. Do you see how His words are sensitive and have spiritual meaning? Saint John Chrysostom + Take into consideration that if Moses and the prophets had sown, since they wrote those things “for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor 10:11), they announced Christ’s journey. Behold also if those who reaped were the apostles who accepted Christ and saw His glory that conforms to the mental seeds of the prophets concerning Him, the fruit they reaped was “the fellowship of the mystery which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden” and “was manifest in these last times” (Eph 3:9; 1 Pet 1:20). “Which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets.” (Eph 3:5) Now, the entire design concerning the announcement of the mystery that was hidden in secrecy for eternal times is revealed in the books of the prophets and in the coming of our LORD Jesus Christ. This happened at the time when the true light caused the fields to be white for harvest, for He radiated as being the Seed. In accordance to this interpretation, the fields in which the seeds were sown are the writings of the Law and the prophets that did not become white for those who did not accept the coming of the Word. But they became white for those who believed in the Son of God and obeyed Him when He said, “lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest.” [35]88 + As true disciples of Jesus, let us lift up our eyes and look at the fields that Moses and the prophets sowed so that we may see their whiteness and how they were made ready for the harvest of their fruits that will be gathered for eternal life. Let us look in hope of also obtaining a reward from the LORD of the fields and giver of the seeds.89 + Any man, whoever he may be, who reads “many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 8:11) will agree that the sower and the reaper will rejoice together where all moaning, sadness and pain will “flee away” (Is 35:10). If anyone hesitates in accepting the fact that until now the sower rejoices with all those who reap, let him remember what happened in the Transfiguration of Jesus as a kind of harvest. Jesus appeared in glory not only to the reapers, Peter, James and John, who went up with Him on the mountain, but also to the sowers Moses and Elijah who had sown before and were so enlightened by the Father and enlightened those who saw Him. Thus now Moses and Elijah are seen together with the holy apostles.90 Origen “For in this the saying is true, One sows And another reaps.” [37] Now the LORD Christ sends His disciples to the harvest in the fields where the patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament labored for such a long time. 88 Commentary on John, Book 13:305-307. 89 Commentary on John, Book 13:308. 90 Commentary on John, Book 13:309-310. https://coptic-treasures.com/ + We can say that one belongs to the Law and the other to the Gospel, but they rejoice together [36] as they have one aim. This was given to them by the One God in Jesus Christ the One who is stored for them in the One Holy Spirit.91 Origen + The prophets are those who sowed and did not reap. Those who reap are the apostles. However, those who only sowed were not deprived of the joy of the reward for their labor. They rejoiced and were happy even though they did not reap.92 Saint John Chrysostom “I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.” [38] + Why did Christ say these words to His disciples? So that when He sends them to preach, they may not be troubled as though they were sent to do a very difficult work, for the work of the prophets was more full of hardship. The disciples came to do easier tasks than others, for just as the fruit is gathered in the harvest easily, likewise is the effort of the disciples now. In this way Christ encouraged His disciples very much because this work, if it is thought to be difficult, since they will travel the world to preach repentance, it is indeed, Christ explains to them, an easy work. The work that was very difficult was the work done by those who sowed the seeds to let a distant soul enter into the knowledge of God.93 + Now, harvesting is different from planting. You have been reserved for a work that is less difficult and more pleasing. You will not sow because this needs greater effort and pain. In harvesting we obtain a great crop but the effort and pain are not as great. Indeed, harvesting is easier… The toilsome work that requires much labor is sowing the seeds and introducing into the knowledge of God the soul that has not obtained the membership in the church.…The desire of the prophets was to bring all humanity to Me. This was the design of the Law. For this reason they sowed in order that they may produce fruit. In all this it is evident that He sent them also and the relation between the new and the old is great. He revealed all this in this parable.94 Saint John Chrysostom + The Word always shows the work of the ancient people more clearly to the true disciples in order that they may practice the same effort and face the same trouble faced by the sowers.95 Origen 5—The Samaritans Believe in Him “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did.’” [39] The people of Sychar did not see any miracle but the person and divine speech of the LORD Christ attracted them to Him. They exulted in Christ’s word that grants life. The 91 Commentary on John, Book 13:322. 92 Hom on John, 34:2. 93 Hom. On John, 34:2. 94 Hom 34. PG 59:197-198. 95 Commentary on John, Book 13:326. https://coptic-treasures.com/ evangelist stresses this point in the next section. Earlier, in His previous dialogue with Nicodemus, the religious leader, the LORD concentrates on the new birth through baptism. Here, the LORD draws attention to His person in order that the gentiles may accept Him and enjoy His work of salvation. + If we contemplate what is said about Samaria, the Samaritan woman, and Jacob’s well, it is not difficult for us to see that those who were surrounded by false teachings left the town of their ideas so that they may enjoy the true teaching. When they left that town they believed truly in the teaching of redemption because one woman had accepted the preaching of salvation at Jacob’s well. She had left her water-pot mentioned previously so that she may call the others to benefit in the same way.96 Origen “So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them, and He stayed there two days.” [40] In Origen’s opinion, Jesus stayed with them but not in their city, for they had gone out of their city and had come to Him Scripture does not say that He performed miracles among them. For they were simple people in need of, and ready for listening to the Word. They were attached to the LORD Christ for the truth. They did not want miracles to ascertain Him as did many leaders of Judea. In the gospel according to Saint Luke, the Samaritans refused to receive Christ in their village (Lk 9:53). However, here, we find the Samaritans urging Him to stay with them. Thus, in every nation we find those who accept the truth and those who cannot tolerate it. Although the LORD Christ was on His way from Judea to Galilee, and He only passed through Samaria, yet, finding an opportunity for service, and acceptance of the word, He did not refuse the wish of the Samaritans but stayed with them two days. + Jesus stays with those who ask Him, especially those who leave their city and come to Him following the example of Abraham when he obeyed God who said to him, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred and from thy father’s house” (Genesis 12:1).97 + Jesus stays two days with those who request Him because they cannot yet reach His third day. They are unable to comprehend any miraculous deed. They are unlike those who ate with Jesus on the third day of the wedding in Cana of Galilee (Jn 2:1).98 Origen “And many more believed because of His own word.” [41] Their meeting with the LORD granted them growth in faith and an increase in the number of believers. + The Jews obtained more knowledge than the Samaritans; they always recognized the prophets and ate with them. However, they now appear lagging behind the Samaritans who 96 Commentary on John, Book 13:340. 97 Commentary on John, Book 13:246. 98 Commentary on John, Book 13:347. https://coptic-treasures.com/ believe in Christ on the strength of a woman’s testimony and without seeing even one miracle. The Samaritans went out quickly and urged Christ to stay with them. As for the Jews, they saw Christ’s miracles with their own eyes, yet they did not ask Him to stay with them, and they even drove Him away and used every means to chase Him away from their cities, though He had come originally for their sake.99 + These Samaritans will judge the Jews and their judgment will be their faith in Christ and acceptance of Him. For, those Jews opposed Christ continuously in spite of His works and miracles. But the Samaritans, without miracles, declared their belief in Him. Saint John Chrysostom “And they said to the woman, ‘Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.’” [42] Seeing the LORD Christ and hearing Him consolidated their belief that they got through the woman. Therefore, many were attracted to that faith. They also recognized Jesus as the Savior, not only of the Jews or with them the Samaritans, but also He is indeed the Savior of the world. He is He about whom Isaiah the prophet says, “I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth” (Is 49:6). Their faith is the certainty that ‘indeed [He] is the Christ, the Savior of the world.’ It is as the queen of Sheba said to the king Solomon,”It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it; and, behold, the half was not told me” (1 Kings 10:6-7). These are the seeds that the LORD Christ sowed in Samaria in two days. We read that after four or five years Philip preached in Samaria where he found good seeds in the field (Acts 8:5-6,8). He also found evil people like Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8:9-10). + The students surpassed their teachers and by their belief in Him and acceptance of Him they obtained the right to judge the Jews. They realized at once that He will attract the world to Himself and that He came to give us perfect salvation. His care is not limited to the Jews alone. He is the true Savior who grants the true eternal salvation, not a temporary one.100 Saint John Chrysostom + They did not describe Christ as savior as a simple characteristic, but they said, “we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” He grants the true redemption, not only the temporary deliverance. This they said out of pure faith. The evidence is in that their belief was not because of miracles they saw. Secondly, though they heard the woman say doubtfully, ‘Could this be the Christ?’ they did not say we think He is the Christ, but they said, “we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” They did not acknowledge Christ as one of many. They affirmed that He is indeed the Savior and though they did not see Him saving but only heard His words, they made that statement. If they had seen His miracles they would have made many great declarations. Moreover, as they said that Christ is the Savior 99 Hom. On John, 35:1. 100 Hom. On John, 35:1. https://coptic-treasures.com/ of the world, they made it clear that He is the Savior of the false or lost world. Saint John Chrysostom + They denied that their belief was based on the woman’s words because when they heard the Savior Himself they discovered that hearing Him was better, for they also knew that “He is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world” [42]. In fact it is better to be an eyewitness of the Word and listen to Him without using the physical members or allowing the interference of teachers. He teaches and presents images to the mind to reveal the truth more clearly. It is better for a person to hear Him than to listen to a report about Him through the servants who saw Him, for the person who does not hear Him personally or see Him is not covered by His power.101 + It is not an amazing thing, in reality, that it is said about some that they behave in accordance to their faith, not according to their discernment, and about others that their conduct follows their discernment (insight) that is greater than conduct in faith (without the experience of insight.102 Origen 6-- He Goes to Galilee “Now after the two days He departed from there and went to Galilee.”[43] + He spent two days in Samaria and the Samaritans believed in Him. He spent many days in Galilee but the Galileans did not believe in Him. The Samaritans did not expect a miracle; they believed His word. When they heard Him talk many Samaritans believed. On the other hand, when He performed a miracle in Galilee, no one in that place believed except the household of the nobleman whose son was healed [53].103 Saint Augustine - “For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.” [44] Some commentators observe that the evangelist, here, means that Jesus went to Galilee, not to Nazareth, though the LORD usually mentioned this proverb with reference to His country “Nazareth” (Matt 13:57; Mark 6:4; Luke 4:24). The LORD Christ did not go to His country, but to Galilee. He did not desire temporary honor; He rather did not wish to intrude on people who rejected Him. Even when He appeared to His disciples during the storm, He, according to the evangelist, entered the boat only when the disciples “willingly received Him.” The LORD longs to cross over to us, to enter our city and guide the ship of our life, but not by force, but only when we request Him to do so. Moreover, to those who want Him and honor Him, He says, “I honor those who honor Me; those who despise Me are disparaged.” (Prov.) He went to Galilee after He had given every possible chance for His people and country. For He says, “I have spread out My hands all the day unto a rebellious people” (Is 65:2; Romans 10:21). 101 Commentary on John, Book 13:352. 102 Commentary on John, Book 13:363. 103 St. Augustine: On the Gospel of St. John, tractate 16:3. https://coptic-treasures.com/ + Why did He add that proverb? That is because He did not go to Capernaum, but to Galilee, then to Cana. And so that you may not ask why did He not stay with His people but stayed with the Samaritans, the evangelist mentions the reason which is that His people had no interest in Him. He did not go there so that they may not have greater judgment. For, I think that here He speaks of Capernaum as His “country.” Besides, to show that He was not honored there, He says, “And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades” (Matt 11:23). He called it His country because it was there that He achieved the provision of the Word (the divine Incarnation) and He lived in particular there.104 Saint John Chrysostom “So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they also had gone to the feast.” [45] The Galileans received Him as being the Promised Messiah because they had seen the signs and miracles He did in Jerusalem at the Passover (John 2:23). + Look! The Samaritans and the Galileans believed in Christ to shame the Jews and to embarrass them. The Samaritans were better than the Galileans because the Samaritans received Him when they heard the words of the woman, but the Galileans received Him when they saw His miracles. The evangelist mentions the man who heard about the miracle (changing water into wine at Cana of Galilee) to exalt the praise of the Samaritans. For, the men of Cana received Christ because of the miracle performed in Jerusalem; but in the case of the Samaritans, they received Him only because of His doctrine.105 Saint John Chrysostom “So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum.”[46] Cana was on the way from Nazareth to Capernaum and the Sea of Tiberias. The learned Origen thinks that Jesus’ two visits to Cana of Galilee denote His first and last coming. At His first visit He changed water into wine; during the second visit He gave life to the nobleman’s son who was at the point of death. Origen writes, “The Word also visits the spirit twice. During the first visit He grants the spirit wine from water for the joy of those who celebrate the feast together. During the second visit He removes all sickness from the spirit for a long time and takes away all threats of death.”106 + During the first trip after our baptism He makes us abide joyfully with Him. He grants us to drink the wine of His power. That water that they drew at first Jesus changed into wine. For, indeed, the holy Bible was water before Jesus came; but after His First Coming the Bible became wine for us. In His Second Coming, God gives Him the judgment and He liberates us from the fever of the time of judgment. He heals the nobleman’s son from fever. He heals him completely; this son may be considered the son of Abraham, or the son of a ruler called a 104 Homilies on St. John, 35:1. 105 Homilies on St. John, 35:2. 106 Commentary on John, Book 13:392. https://coptic-treasures.com/ nobleman. 107 Origen + He came to Galilee because of the envy of the Jews. But why did He come to Cana? He came the first time as one invited to a wedding. But why does He come now? I think, so that by His visit He may consolidate the faith that He planted with His miracle, and so that He may attract them to Himself even more when He comes having invited Himself, leaving His city and favoring them.108 Saint John Chrysostom 7-- A Nobleman’s Son Is Healed “When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.” [47] The LORD Christ did nothing but only spoke and His words granted life to a person who was at the point of death [47]. The nobleman, Basilibos, was the guard of the royal palace. Many scholars conjecture that the king that Basilibos served was Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee whom the people called “king.” Saint Jerome believes the man’s name was Palantinus, but others think his name was Chuza (Luke 8:3) the husband of Joanna who followed the LORD Christ with the women who provided for Him from their possessions. Still other writers say that the man was Manaen (Acts 13:1). The account here is accurate, for it is said, he “implored Him to come down.” The reason is that the LORD was in Cana of Galilee that is on a very high hill while Capernaum is on the shore of the Sea of Galilee at the sea level. This shows that the writer knows very well the nature of that region. The king’s steward (the nobleman) came from Capernaum to Cana, a distance of about 16 miles. Saint John Chrysostom says that that person was either a member of the royal family, or was highly honored because of his office. He was, therefore, called a nobleman. Some commentators consider him the person mentioned in Matt 8:5, but the Saint disagrees because the difference between those two men is not only in the degree of honor, but also in faith. The man mentioned in the Gospel according to Saint Mathew had greater faith, for even when Jesus desired to go to him, he begged Him not to leave. On the other hand, this nobleman entreated the LORD to go to his house although the LORD did not ask that. The first man said, “I am not worthy that You should come under my roof.” The second man urged the LORD to go, for he said, “Sir, come down before my child dies!” In the first case, the LORD had come down from the mountain and had entered Capernaum. But here He came from Samaria and did not enter Capernaum but went to Cana where this man met Him. The first man’s servant was paralyzed, but this man’s son was feverish.109 “Then Jesus said to him, 107 Commentary on John, Book 13:438-439. 108 Homilies on St. John, 35:2.. 109 Homilies on St. John, 35:2. https://coptic-treasures.com/ Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.” [48] The LORD did not say to him that he had no faith, but that he was weak in his faith. He was unable to believe that the LORD could heal the child without going in person from Cana to Capernaum. This is the weak faith that is built on miracles. It is a faith that is often only mental and is therefore subject to weakness and doubt. This is contrary to the faith through God’s revelation to the spirit and the consequent exultation at the mysteries of the divine word. Saint John Chrysostom asks why did the LORD Christ say this although it is clear that that man was a believer and as soon as he heard the LORD Christ’s word, he believed [50]? Saint John Chrysostom then answers his own question. He says, “The LORD’s motive was either to bear witness to the Samaritans who believed without seeing wonders, or to influence Capernaum that is thought to be His country and where that person came from. Besides, consider the saying of another man, “LORD, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) and you will understand that though this nobleman believed, his belief was not complete or sound. This becomes evident when he inquires about the hour when his child got better [52] to know whether his son was healed normally or as a result of Christ’s order.” 110 “The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!’”[49] In spite of his faith that caused him to travel all that distance and leave his son on his deathbed to meet the LORD Christ, yet in weakness he did not realize that he talked to the conqueror of death and giver of resurrection. In bitterness he urged the LORD Christ to go to his house before his son dies. Terror filled the heart of this father who was about to lose his son. The LORD showed reluctance, not because He did not share the feelings of this father who was alarmed, but rather to edify the spirit of this man and many other spirits. The LORD desires to direct the attention of this father and of those around him toward the mystery of life and resurrection, to Himself as the Savior of the world. The miracle is given as an additional blessing to one who seeks the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Saint Augustine has often spoken about our weak relationship with God and our deviation when we are attentive only to the worldly pleasures and blessings granted by God who does all good things instead of being preoccupied with God Himself and having Him inside us. In this same spirit, Saint Paul asks us not to have a relationship with the saints based on the benefit of their help especially in solving material, moral or social problems. Our relationship with them should be, in the first degree, a relationship of love as a foundation for taking them as our guides in the LORD Jesus. Saint Paul writes, “Remember those who lead you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.” + Contemplate the words of the nobleman and how they reveal his weakness. He should have imagined in our LORD greatness for the sake of his son. For, in saying to Christ, “Sir, come down before my child dies”, he brought Christ down to the level of one who cannot raise the child after his death and also one who did not know the boy’s condition. For this reason Christ blamed him touching his conscience and showing him that His miracles are performed for the benefit of the spirit. Here He heals the father’s sick reasoning and urges us to be interested not in His wonders, but in His doctrine. For the signs are not for the believers, but for the 110 Homilies on St. John, 35:2. https://coptic-treasures.com/ unbelieving.111 Saint John Chrysostom + He had a weak faith in this because he assumed that Christ could not heal except when He is personally present. If he had believed perfectly he would have known that there is no place where God is not present…He who has created all things with His will can heal with a mere command.112 Pope Gregory (the Great) “Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way; your son lives.’ So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him; and he went his way.” [50] The LORD Christ’s interest in directing the nobleman to the living, mighty faith does not mean that Christ ignored the effort this man made in his trip to come to Jesus. For, our Christ does not forget the labor of love or the cup of cold water given in His name. Indeed, He is all love and does not ignore the feelings of a father who watches his son on his deathbed. The agony of this father’s heart and, lastly, this man’s perseverance are recognized. Christ desires us to pray and not lose heart. He praised the widow whom the unjust judge answered because of her persistent pleading. In saying, “Go your way; your son lives” He revealed His absolute authority. He is King of kings and LORD of lords. He “has life in Himself” He has authority; He rebukes affliction and it leaves, death and it goes away. The nobleman knows the authority and power of royal orders that allow no reluctance or negligence. He accepted the word of Jesus as a royal command and went away full of trust, without argument or dialogue, to enjoy this precious treasure that is the divine active order! The officer believed, but his faith was on condition that he made sure that his son was healed. Therefore, it is later said that “he himself believed, and his whole household” [53] “And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, ‘Your son lives’ [51] Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him ‘Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.’” [52] With this question the nobleman revealed his weak faith. However, it has been said about the LORD, “A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench” (Matt 12:20). He is the shepherd who takes care of His sheep to support them and take them into the enclosure of faith. “So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, ‘Your son lives.’ And he believed, and his whole household.” [53] This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.” [54] The evangelist had previously mentioned the miracle of changing water into wine when 111 Hom 35. PG 59:204. 112 Hom 28, Forty Gospel Homilies. PL 76:1211. https://coptic-treasures.com/ he said that Jesus came to Cana of Galilee [46]. Here, he refers to it by saying, “This again is the second sign Jesus did…” as though he wishes to link the two signs. The first sign the LORD Christ did at the beginning of His service is that He made the world an eternal wedding where everybody enjoys the wine of God’s love and the heavenly continuous joy. The second sign when the nobleman’s son was at the point of death – and most probably he was a Gentile – Christ granted him health. Here Christ declared that He desired the security of His people or of His bride. The LORD Christ was glorified in the first miracle in front of the Jewish master of the wedding; now He is glorified before the entire multitude that came to the house of the Gentile nobleman. Saint John Chrysostom observes that the evangelist mentions this to reveal the eminence of the Samaritans who believed in the LORD Christ without seeing the first or second miracle, but received Him through His doctrine. + This saying implies also praise for the Samaritans. It shows that the Jews, after the second sign did not reach the loftiness of the Samaritans who did not see even one sign. + The evangelist did not write the words ‘the second’ without aim. He wanted to increase our astonishment at the Samaritans by indicating that even when the second sign was accomplished, those who saw it did not reach the elevation of those who did not see it.113 Saint John Chrysostom Inspired by John Chapter Four The Spring of Your Love Waters the Depth of My Spirit + Your wonderful love defies all rules No difficulty or obstacle stands in its way. For the sake of a poor, disreputable Samaritan woman You went to Samaria on foot and fasting! You whom the heavenly beings long to carry. Your tender body was exhausted But Your spirit was thirsty for the woman’s salvation. + The Samaritan woman was ashamed to go in the morning fearing she would meet anyone. She had no servant or maid to fetch water for her. She found You alone at noon seeking her Bringing to her the spring of living water Whoever drinks of it will never thirst.. + Your modesty, love and gentleness made her forget the hostility between the Samaritans and the Jews. Seeing You kindled her heart to worship God. 113 Hom 36. PG 59:206. https://coptic-treasures.com/ She trusted You and talked at length about worship! She recognized You and gradually knew You For she searched for You faithfully and You declared Yourself to her! + O how wonderful, she never saw a miracle or sign, But Your words attracted her wholly to enjoy redemption. She confessed her personal secrets, because she found her spirit’s bridegroom. The five men she once had and the man she still has did not satisfy her. She realized that the five Books of Moses And the teachings she had Will not quench her thirst. You alone are the bridegroom of her spirit. + She possessed You within herself So her heart expanded with love for all mankind. She left her waterpot and without permission ran to her city. With her heart on fire she was not ashamed to announce with great wisdom “A man told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” The whole city went out toward the wonderful bridegroom. + She was not ordered to preach. She was not trained in witnessing But she did what no apostle or disciple did! With her love she attracted the whole city And when they met You they refused to learn from any other but You. They announced firmly what Your disciples did not We know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world. + You are truly the Savior of the world. You grant healing and life. O You who have raised the nobleman’s son as from death! Raise my poor spirit To enjoy You who are the source of life and joy. +++

< CH 3 CH 5 >

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