Wednesday, May 5, 2010

More on the Story of the Woman at the Well

There's more I wanted to say about the story of the Samaritan Woman, before events intervened. Now that I have a few moments, I'll at least list them, although there isn't time to discuss them all.

So many striking things about this story: that Jesus should allow Himself to be alone with a woman, and should speak to her!  (Rabbis of His days did NOT do that.)  That He should speak to a Samaritan, a heretic! That He knew all about her! That he stayed in Samaria, of all places, two days, preaching and teaching them! That these heretics, in contrast to so many Jews, believed! It's all amazing, through and through.

There are liberal scholars who tell us Jesus never claimed to be the Son of God. It isn't true; He does make the claim, sometimes implicitly. And here, in this incident, He is at least explicitly claiming to be Messiah. (These same scholars will tell you this hardly counts, as John's Gospel is only a "mytho-poetic" account of the life of Jesus. They don't understand what spiritual is, so all they can come up with is "mytho-poetic.")

But what I wanted to point out especially, in view of recent posts and comments about the nous, is what the townsfolk told the woman: Now we believe not because of what you told us, but because we ourselves have heard Jesus. The Apostles also said this.  What we have seen, heard, handled, is what we proclaim to you.  Orthodox Christians also say this. At first, we believed for assorted reasons, but now, we do not believe upon anybody else's word or authority. We do not believe "for the Bible tells me so." Nor because a pope tells us so, or a patriarch or bishop. No, now we believe because we ourselves, in mystical, spiritual, and very real fashion, have been made first-hand witnesses of Grace and Truth. The revelation is not merely stories or doctrines or confessions or Bible verses passed down to us (although passed down to us they are), but revelation granted, knowledge bestowed, directly by the Holy Spirit in us, in rather the same manner as He gives us to know that we exist and that God exists. That is why we can never be Sola Scripturists; our faith comes not from the Scripture, but from the Source of the Scripture.