Sermon of Archbishop Alypy (Gamanovich) of Chicago on the Fifth Sunday after Pascha.
The Samaritan Woman
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!
On the way towards Galilee, the Lord and His followers passed through Samaria. They stopped in the Samaritan city of Sychar. Fatigued from the journey, the Lord sat down to rest by Jacob's Well and His followers continued on to the city to buy something to eat.
A Samaritan woman then approached the well to draw water. The Lord asked her for some water to drink. She was surprised, saying: “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” (John 4:9). The Lord replied: “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… 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 4:10,14).
And indeed, upon learning Who was before her, she asked Him for living water. She appealed to Him to explain what perplexed her spiritually. Thus the Lord satisfied her spiritual thirst; and that water became in her a well of water springing up into everlasting life. She could not contain her desire to tell others of the Messiah.
Leaving her waterpot, she went her way into the city, and preached to everyone about Him. Having believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as Messiah, she remained true to her faith. Her name was Photine. She had two sons and five sisters. After the Savior's death on the Cross, she and her sons and sisters preached everywhere about Christ the Savior. They were all martyred in Rome under Emperor Nero in 66 AD.
The Lord also calls us to draw from His Living Water: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37). St John the Theologian explains that “living water” stands for the Holy Spirit, which He gives to believers in His Name.
On Pentecost, the Lord sent the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and, through them, to His Church. As He said: “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). In Church through the mystery of Baptism and Unction we receive the grace of the Holy Spirit. But we should not stop there, but through virtue, abstention and prayer—as in the parable of the talents—to increase the grace of the Holy Spirit. St Serafim taught that the goal of Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit.
We will try under our difficult conditions to strive for this, because it results in salvation, in which may the Lord help us. Amen