by Archpriest Victor Potapov
Today’s Gospel excerpt (John 4: 5-42), brought to our attention by the Holy Church on the 4th Sunday after Pascha, relates Christ’s discussion with the Samaritan woman. The Lord tells her of some “living water” He possesses, and which He could give her to drink. It is a special kind of water, with the capacity to slake thirst forever, and to one who drinks of it appears a “well of water springing up into eternal life.” What is that miraculous water, that life-giving water of life? That water is LOVE. For God, the wellspring and source and of all life, is Love. The Holy Apostle St. John the Theologian says “God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” (I John 4: 16).
Love is the foundation and essence of the Holy Trinity: The Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father. The Holy Spirit is the Personal, Hypostatic Love of the Father for the Son and of the Son for the Father. It was out of love that God called the world from out of non-existence. God’s Creation was founded on love, and it is by God’s love that it lives. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3: 16). For man’s salvation – God not only loves His creation and unceasingly provides for it, God not only offers Himself as a sacrifice for mankind’s salvation, but He also asks love of us. So to speak, He needs our love. Of the Samaritan woman, the Lord asks, “Give me to drink!” On the Cross, he is to say “I thirst!”
He gave man the Commandment of love. In fact, love is not even a Commandment; rather it is a condition of life, a requisite of our existence. The Holy Apostle James teaches us, “Faith without works is dead!” (James 3: 20) Christ’s suffering on the Cross was not so much physical pain as it was the pain of enduring the evil of the world, the scarcity of love in mankind. With our wars, our hatred, our squabbling, and our dislike of one another, we insult God’s love, cause Him sorrow, and bring Him new pain.
Love is jealous. Love needs to be requited. Therefore God, Who is Love, is a jealous God. In the Old Testament, we learn that His Name is “Jealous.”(Exodus 34: 14).
Christ awaits and expects our love, and asks us for it. Through the mouths of those in prisons, in hospitals, in need and in suffering, He asks us for a cup of cool water. (Matthew 10: 42).
And right now, today, Christ’s words to Photini the Samaritan woman and the request repeated on the Cross, continue to sound out to us: “Give Me to drink!” “I thirst!”
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