The Sunday of the Samaritan Woman at the Well
(Fifth Sunday of Pascha;
Saint Photini [Svetlana], the Equal-to-the-Apostles)
Services This Week:
Reader’s service of Small Compline, Wednesday, 5:30 p.m;
Saturday, Great Vespers, 5:00 p.m.;
Sunday, Third Hour, 9:45 a.m., followed by The Divine Liturgy at 10:00 a.m.
During the Sundays of the Church year, we each Sunday move through a repeating cycle of eight Tones, with different music and hymns for each tone, which celebrate the resurrection of Christ. This Sunday falls on Tone 4. Here is the Sunday troparion (hymn) of the Resurrection for this Sunday:
Having learned the joyful message of the Resurrection from the angel,
the women Disciples cast from them their parental condemnation,
and proudly broke the news to the Disciples, saying,
Death hath been spoiled. Christ God is risen,
granting the world Great Mercy.
MEGALYNARION FOR SUNDAY OF THE SAMARITAN WOMAN IN TONE ONE
Rejoice and be glad, O gate of the divine Light;
for Jesus Who disappeared in the tomb hath
risen with greater radiance than the sun,
illuminating all believers, O Lady favored of God.
(Prokeimenon): How great are Thy works, O Lord! In wisdom hast Thou made them all.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
The Reading from the Acts of the Saintly and Pure Apostles.
Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.
Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.
(Acts 11:19-30, ESV)
The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. John.
So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
A woman from 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.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying 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 water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people 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 (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to him.
Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
(John 4:5-42, ESV)
All of us have a “past,” the collective experiences, joys, pains, heartaches, family relationships, memories, and accumulated “life” which are part of us, to some degree, each day when we rise from sleep to greet a new day. The Samaritan woman in today’s Gospel reading had a past which was very much a part of her identity – at least, certainly, to the people of the town where she lived, and even, by extension, to passing strangers, such as the disciples. Our Lord Jesus Christ knew very well that the woman whom he was speaking with “had a past” – in fact, He told it to her (not that she needed to be told, or did not know her own background… although this experience convinced her that Christ was, truly, “Something [Someone…] More”). But to Him, what mattered was who she was and what she would do. Tradition holds that this woman was named Saint Photini (from the Greek word for light, phos, hence, “The Enlightened One”) after eventually being baptized by the first Apostles, and that she became an “Equal to the Apostles” by sharing the Light of Christ with her neighbors, town, nation, and beyond. Samaria, the remnant of the long-before conquered northern kingdom of Israel (invaded, conquered, and destroyed in the eighth century B.C. by the Assyrian Empire), held in contempt by the Jewish population of the southern kingdom of Judah, became the first people to follow Christ – restoring the promises of God to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through the incarnation of His Son – compassionate, merciful, forgiving, patient, and ever offering living water to those who come to Him.
Other Saints Commemorated Today:
Nikephoros the Confessor, archbishop of Constantinople; New-martyrs Demetrios of Philadelphia, John of Trebizond, and Constantine of Athos; Hieromartyr Pothinos bishop of Lyons and his companion Martyr Blandina; Hieromartyr Erasmus of Ochrid