Gospel of John Chapter 4

We hope that you are enjoying this week and the next lesson in our study. These stories can be so familiar to us, and yet as we read and study them again, we can see new insights in them.
In Chapter 4 of the Gospel of John, the majority of the story is about the Samaritan woman at the well. In the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible I have, I read an interesting footnote that brought something to me that I had never thought about before. We are told that after her unexpected and life-changing encounter with Jesus at the well, the Samaritan woman “left her water jar” and went back to her people to tell them about her experience. It sounds like she became both a believer and a missionary at that point, and brought her belief in Jesus as the Messiah to all those who would listen to her.
The footnote in my Bible quotes St. Augustine in saying “The water jar is the fallen desire of man that draws pleasure from the dark wells of the world but is never satisfied for long. Conversion to Christ moves us, like the Samaritan woman, to renounce the world, leave behind the desires of our earthen vessels, and follow a new way of life.” I had never thought of that symbolism before, and the specific mention of the Samaritan woman leaving her water jar behind must have been considered important to the story.
It made me think of how my own priorities shifted when I came back into active participation in the Church in my mid-twenties, and how some activities and even relationships had to be changed or put aside. And a “new way of life” can seem threatening to those who do not choose to share that new life with us. But God gives us the graces and the strength to follow Him, and–by our example, perhaps–others around us can be encouraged to seek a relationship with Him. It made me mindful of how we are all called to be missionaries in that way, by living our life in a way that leads to God.
Anyway, that footnote got me thinking, and I hope that you will find it interesting and something to ponder in your life. Franciene and I hope that you are enjoying this lesson, and–as always–feel free to call or email either of us with any questions. We look forward to seeing you next Tuesday!