THE PREACHING OF THE SAMARITAN WOMAN
The woman therefore left her water-pot, and went her
way into the city. -John iv. 28.
("Meditations for Lent from St. Thomas Aquinas", pp. 91-93, 1937 Imp.)
This woman, once Christ had instructed her,
became an apostle. There are three things which
we can gather from what she said and what she
1. The entirety of her surrender to Our Lord.
This is shown:
(i) From the fact that she left lying there, almost
as if forgotten, that for which she had come to the
well, the water and the water-pot. So great was
her absorption. Hence it is said, The woman left her
water-pot and went away into the city, went away to
announce the wonderful works of Christ. She
cared no longer for the bodily comforts in view
of the usefulness of better things, following in this
example of the Apostles of whom it is said that,
Leaving their nets they followed the Lord (Mark i. 18).
The water-pot stands for fashionable desire, by
means of which men draw up pleasures from those
depths of darkness signified by the well, that is,
from practices which are of the earth earthy.
Those who abandon such desires for the sake of
God are like the woman who left her water-pot.
(ii) From the multitude of people to whom she
tells the news, not to one nor to two or three but
to a whole city. This is why she went away into
method of preaching.
She salth to the men there: Come, and see a man who
has told me all things whatsoever
I have done. Is not
he the Christ? John iv. 29.
(i) She invites them to look upon Christ:
Come, and see a man she did not straightway say
that they should give themselves to Christ, for
that might have been for them an occasion for
blasphemy, but, to begin with, she told them
things about Christ which were believable and
open to observation. She told them he was a man.
did she say, Believe, but come and see, for she
knew that if they, too, tasted of that well, looking
is upon Our Lord, they, too, would feel
all she had felt. And she follows the example of
a true preacher in that
she attracts the men not
to herself but to Christ.
(ii) She gives them a hint that Christ is God
when she says, A man who has told me all things
whatsoever I have done, that is to say, how many
husbands she had had. She is not ashamed to
bring up things that make for her own confusion,
because the soul, once it is lighted up with the divine
fire, in no way looks to earthly values and standards,
cares neither for its own glory nor its shame, but
only for that flame which holds and consumes it.
(iii) She suggests that this proves the majesty
of Christ, saying, Is not he the Christ? She does
dare to assert that he is the Christ, lest she have
the appearance of wishing to teach others, and
the others, irritated
thereat, refuse to go out to
Him. Nor, on the other hand, does she leave
the matter in silence, but she puts it
questioningly, as though she left it to their own
judgment. For this is the easiest of all ways of
3. The Fruit of Preaching.
They therefore went out of the city and came unto
Christ. -John iv. 30.
Hereby it is made clear to us that if we would
come to Christ, we too must go out of the city,
is to say, we must lay aside all love of
Let us go forth therefore to him without the camp
(Heb. xiii. 13).
(In John iv.)