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Spiritual Living

Author:
James Spruell, Ph.D.

The Woman at the Well


Many have traveled along lonely paths carrying heavy burdens, hoping for relief. The woman at the well illustrates God’s love for his children in sending Jesus to teach and heal a beloved daughter.



The woman at the well is one of my favorite biblical stories. And, for many years I didn’t really know why, just that it was very touching. Often I heard suggestions that this Samaritan woman who had five husbands was quite promiscuous, unworthy by every measure. Yet intuition said otherwise. Why would the Savior travel so far out of his way to meet with the ‘one’, and how could she be so unworthy yet spiritually in tune enough to eventually recognize that she spoke with a prophet?

Much of her reputation may stem from comments that can be interpreted quite differently. The most often cited is a single line where the Savior declares that she has had five husbands and lives unmarried with another.

The assumption is that she has broken her marriage vows and deserted each eventually to live with a man to whom she was not married. Unfortunately, the latter especially conveys a promiscuous image.

The second hint at unworthiness came from her not going with the village women to the well in the morning but rather during the heat of the sun -- a time when others would not be around. The well that she used was further away than those closer to the village, again allowing her to avoid contact with others.

So why did the Savior select the Samaritan woman to convey such a powerful message of God’s love? Was it to soften and prepare the way for the gospel to be carried throughout the world?

Or was it more personal in that she was the ‘1’ separated from the ‘99’ and needed encouragement? She clearly loved God for within her was a spirit that recognized and cherished the Messiah, rejoicing greatly in the knowledge.



Lessons Learned:

  1. What is the real lesson(s) behind the Samaritan woman at the well?

  2. Many in Jesus day expected a temporal Messiah, a king after the mold of King David. Instead, the Messiah was born in a manger, openly walked / talked with women, and related some of his most profound teachings through their greatest (or most disdained): the Samaritans? Why?

 


Jesus Teaches a Samaritan Woman

Mary, the Mother of Christ Video The video, produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is from Mormon Messages... and well worth a view. (In the clip, note that it is the Savior who is sitting quietly awaiting the 'one') 3:56

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