Russia Religion Subjects Jesus Christ Christ and the Samaritan Woman

Christ and the Samaritan Woman

Jesus’ meeting with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well is described in the Book of John: “Then cometh He to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, ‘Give me to drink’ … Then saith the woman of Samaria unto Him, ‘How is it that Thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.’ Jesus answered and said unto her, ‘If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water.’ The woman saith unto him, ‘Sir, Thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast Thou that living water? Art Thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?’ Jesus answered and said unto her, ‘Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life’” (John 4:5–29).

This event is remembered by the Russian Orthodox Church in the fifth week of Easter, also known as the Week of the Samaritan Woman. The compositions of Russian icons are specially constructed so that the main scene of Christ and the woman is usually at the bottom, with the hills rising up above them as a symbol of the transport of the spirit. The Samaritan town of Sychar and its inhabitants can be seen beyond the spurs of the hills.

Jesus is depicting resting and points to the well in reference to His words. The slender figure of the Samaritan woman represents the spiritual ascent of someone who has seen the light and believed, while her gesture expresses her readiness to accept the words of the Saviour and believe that He is the Messiah.

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