Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sunday of the Samaritan Woman

Tomorrow, the fifth Sunday of Pascha, is the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman. Here is how S. V. Bulgakov explains this commemoration:
On the fifth Sunday we commemorate the conversation of Jesus Christ with the Samaritan Woman (see March 20 for more about her). This event, occurring during Jewish Pentecost, commemorates the revelation of an obvious witness of the Divine glory of the resurrected Savior on the present Sunday, for after the conversation with the Lord the Samaritan woman and her community of Samaritans were convinced that the one who converses is truly the Savior of the world, the Messiah (John 4: 41-42). Parts of the specified conversation, serving as the subject of the Gospel reading, are commemorated in the troparia of the Canon and the stichera of Matins of the present Sunday. That is why this Sunday is also called the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman. The Holy Church presents the Samaritan woman as an example of the raising up of sinful sinners from the depths, those who are looking for salvation and are ready to respond to the voice of God, who everywhere unceasingly calls out to them about raising up spiritually. The Samaritan woman, despite "burning with the heat of many passions", did not extinguish the feeling of goodness in her heart, the susceptibility to truth and the desire to please God, and for this she was made worthy to find the Savior, "sitting on the well". "Although He truly desires to free the woman from the snares of the enemy and for her to drink living water", the Savior made the Samaritan woman worthy of a conversation with Him. And during this conversation He, having stirred up sincere repentance of sins in her, reminded this woman about her sinful life. He caused her to understand by herself His elevated teaching about the "water of salvation" and caused a flaming desire in her heart "to accept the living water pouring out from Him". "Having drank it", the Samaritan woman "preached to all" about Christ, "who came in the flesh, to save mankind". With all of this we also are inspired that Lord Himself always goes out to meet those searching for divine truth and grace and are capable of repentance, and mercifully grants them gifts even to establish their salvation, and through them the salvation of others also. Besides this, announcing to us in the Sunday Gospel reading which posited the Savior's teaching about the worship of God in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24) in His conversation with the Samaritan woman, the Holy Church teaches that we should pray to God in order that our prayer will be pleasing to Him and will be redemptive for us.
Online resources:
Icon: Miniature from an illuminated Gospel, 13th century, parchment, Monastery of Iveron, Mount Athos.

No comments: