June 3, 2024

Homily Two for the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman (St. John of Kronstadt)

By St. John of Kronstadt

A wondrously touching sight is presented to us, beloved brothers and sisters, by today's Gospel reading from John! The beginningless, omnipotent, awesome in glory, unapproachable to the Angels, Creator of heaven and earth, who took upon Himself human nature for the salvation of mankind, sits at the well of Samaria and meekly converses with a woman, and even with a well-known sinner in the city. And about what does He converse? About what every person needs, what each of us needs most, about living water, or about the grace of God, quenching the thirst of the immortal human soul, scorched and exhausted by sins; about living water, cleansing human sins, giving man strength to live chastely and in holiness – and catches this daughter of Adam for salvation. Yes, I repeat, a wondrous and touching sight is presented in today's Gospel to our eyes! All the angelic hosts marveled at the extreme condescension of the Creator of angels and men, seeing their Lord, unapproachable in His divinity, as a man accessible to all, conversing, eating food and drink with the children of men, healing all their infirmities, enduring ingratitude and slander from many, and at the end of everything - the cross and death. But let us listen to the very story of the Evangelist John.

It was necessary, he says, for the Lord to pass through Samaria. 'So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” 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?” The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” Then they went out of the city and came to 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.” So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own word. Then 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"' (John 4:4-30, 39-42).

Thus, the subject of the current Gospel is living water, or the teaching of Christ about our salvation and the kingdom of God in us, the teaching that you constantly hear in the Gospel and in Divine services; living water, or the saving grace of God, indwelling us through faith and acting salvifically in us, enlightening the eyes of our hearts, showing us sin in all its disgusting nakedness, abomination and destruction, inciting us to touching and complete whole-hearted repentance, cleansing sins, sanctifying us, reconciling us with God, comforting us with the hope of eternal mercy from God, strengthening and approving us in the fight against sin, the devil, the passions, the temptations of the world, protecting and saving us; this living water of Christ, or the grace of God, lies especially in the mysteries of the Church and is taught to all who sincerely participate in them.

Another subject of the Gospel is prayer in spirit and truth and in every place, i.e. sincere prayer, from the bottom of our heart, at all times; for it is said: "Pray without ceasing" (1 Cor. 5:17).

But if there is living water that revives a person’s soul, water whose eternally flowing Source is the Lord Jesus Christ, then there is, of course, also dead water that kills a person’s soul forever and ever; this dead water is sin in all its forms, for example: drunkenness, prodigal uncleanness, foul language, riotousness, malice, envy, greed, hard-heartedness and unmercifulness, pride, unbelief, laziness and negligence about one’s salvation, despondency, despair and other sins, of which the beginning and source and teacher is the devil with his demonic army. Therefore, brothers and sisters, do not come slothfully, but diligently study the word of God in the holy churches of God, pray with all your heart in spirit and in truth; bring heartfelt repentance for your sins, eat from the immortal Source of Christ; correct your morals; turn away from sins; try in every possible way to walk the path of the commandments of Christ/ Achieve holiness in all your life, and you will finally inherit eternal life by the grace of Christ our God, just like that Samaritan woman who is told in the Gospel today; for she left her sinful life, began to do works of repentance, works of righteousness, believing in Christ with all her heart, loving Him with all her soul. According to ecclesiastical tradition, she became a martyr for His name. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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