Samaritan woman at the well
The Samaritan woman at the well is an episode in the life of Jesus from the Gospel of John, in John 4:4–26. In Eastern Orthodox Church tradition, she is known as Photine (from φως, the luminous one). There is an extensive extra-biblical tradition related to her, in which she is known as Saint Photine or Photini/Photina (of Samaria), and regarded as a Christian martyr.
According to John 4:
Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
This episode takes place before the return of Jesus to Galilee. The Jews regarded the Samaritans as foreigners and their attitude was often hostile, although they shared many beliefs. The two communities seem to have drifted apart in the post-exilic period. Both communities share the Pentateuch, although crucially the Samaritan Pentateuch locates the holy mountain at Mount Gerizim rather than at Mount Zion, as this incident acknowledges at John 4:20.
The Gospel of John, like the Gospel of Luke, is favourable to the Samaritans, unlike the Matthew Gospel which quotes Jesus as telling his followers not to enter any of the citites of the Samaritans. Scholars differ as to whether the Samaritan references in the New Testament are historical. One view is that the historical Jesus had no contact with Samaritans; another is that the accounts go back to Jesus himself.
Scholars have noted that this story appears to be modelled on a standard betrothal scene from Hebrew scriptures, particularly that of Jacob in Genesis 29. This convention, which would have been familiar to Jewish readers, is subverted by presenting Jesus as the bridegroom of the Jewish people, in a scene which follows on from a scene in which John the Baptist compares his relationship to Jesus with that of the friend of a bridegroom.
This Gospel episode is referred to as "a paradigm for our engagement with truth", in the Roman Curia book A Christian reflection on the New Age, as the dialogue says: "You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know" and offers an example of "Jesus Christ the bearer of the water of life". The passages that comprise John 4:10–26 are sometimes referred to as the Water of Life Discourse, which forms a complement to the Bread of Life Discourse.
- Media related to Samaritan woman at the well at Wikimedia Commons
- Jesus' interactions with women
- List of names for the biblical nameless
- Parable of the Good Samaritan
- Domnina (daughter of Nero)
- Ponessa, Joseph; Laurie Watson Manhardt (2005). The Gospel of John. Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road Publishing. p. 39. ISBN 1-931018-25-1. OCLC 62332815. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
- "John 4:4-26 (New International Version)". New International Version Bible. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
- Lincoln, Andrew T. (2005). The Gospel According to Saint John. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers. pp. 170–1. ISBN 1-56563-401-2. OCLC 61129929. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
- Ferguson, Everett. Backgrounds of Early Christianity. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 534.
- V. J. Samkutty, The Samaritan Mission in Acts (Continuum, 2006) page 85.
- V. J. Samkutty, The Samaritan Mission in Acts (Continuum, 2006) page 100-101.
- Kevin Quast, Reading the Gospel of John: An Introduction (Paulist Press, 1991)page 29.
- Pontifical Council for Culture; Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (2 March 2003). Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian reflection on the "New Age". Vatican City: Internet Office of the Holy See.
- Barrett, C. K. (1978). The Gospel According to St. John: An Introduction With Commentary and Notes on the Greek Text (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: The Westminster Press. p. 12. ISBN 0-664-22180-7. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
- "La Samaritana 2011 en Oaxaca" (in Spanish). Vive Oaxaca. Retrieved 3 June 2013.