Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”.John 4:13-14
Dear members and friends,
All stories in the Bible are allegorical. Each story in the Bible has its own significant meaning illustrating a part of our spiritual journey. In John 4, the story of the Samaritan woman who encounters Jesus at Jacob’s well contains exceptionally rich and deep spiritual meaning. In this story, Jesus teaches the Samaritan woman, “The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” It is clear from the context of the story itself that the water Jesus offered is not physical water (H2O). Thus, it can be inferred that the water Jesus gives is spiritual truth. This teaching reveals two essential characteristics about Jesus. First, Jesus is the source of spiritual truth. Second, the spiritual truth from Jesus would lead humans to eternal life. Combining these two characteristics, we could understand what the writer of the Gospel of John intends to emphasize: Jesus was the Incarnation of the Creator.
One question may arise in our minds when we read the story of the Samaritan woman, “Why did Jesus choose to reveal this truth to her?” From the story itself, she is not only a Samaritan, but also a woman who lives with a man who was not her husband. According to the traditions of Jews at the time of Jesus, she has two big strikes against her! It meant that if you were a proper Jew, you would not even be near such a person. However, Jesus not only engages a conversation with her first, but also leads her to the teaching of spiritual truth about eternal life. Why? According to Swedenborg, the Samaritan woman symbolizes the affection of truth that is actively cultivated. The affection of truth means people who have a strong desire to pursue what is true despite all challenges. A well symbolizes the source of all truth or the Word of God. It was about noon when the Samaritan woman came to Jacob’s well where Jesus was resting. Noon symbolizes being in the state of light. Thus, the Samaritan woman coming to Jacob’s well at about noon symbolizes those who have strong desire to pursue what is true and are actively cultivating their spiritual journey. Putting them together, the story of the Samaritan woman in John 4 symbolizes that spiritual truth from God could only be taught to and received by those who are in the state of light and are ready to actively and diligently cultivate truth.
My brothers and sisters in God, let us acknowledge that spiritual truth is not found anywhere on earth nor can it be given or made by human efforts, but only given by God into our hearts, when we have created a space for it.
Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee