Sermon Sunday of the Samaritan Woman

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

Хритос Васкрсе! Ваистину Васкрсе! WELL

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ we live in a country that is full of abundance, there are very few that live in need. Those that are in need in this country are better off than most of the peoples of the world. Yet we see a society that is hungry and thirsty. People walk around unhappy and unsatisfied.

We must ask ourselves why this situation exists. It exists because something is lacking in the lives of these people. Our own Serbian Orthodox people often find themselves in this same situation.

So, what is lacking? What is lacking is a Christ centered life.

Today in the epistle we heard the miracles that can be worked by having a Christ centered life in Peter’s escape from the Jews and the many conversions in Antioch. We were told in the epistle that the followers of Christ were first called Christians.

What does it mean to be a Christian today?

We need to look at today’s Gospel for the answer to this question. We see Christ meet with a woman of Samaria. He asks her for a drink of water, when in fact He is trying to quench the thirst of her soul. He tells her about life and reveals Himself to be the Christ. This all occurs in the absence of His disciples. When they arrive they are astonished to find Him talking with her. She goes and gets the towns people to come and meet Him so, that they also may have their thirst quenched by the living God.

The first point we should examine is that this is a woman of a race of people that the Jews are at odds with over many things, cultural and religious. The Samaritans look almost like they are Jewish externally but on close examination one can see the differences. Some of these are pointed out in today’s Gospel. Additionally He is doing something against the cultural norms of the time by having a conversation with a woman. What we should get out of this point is Christ has come for all men (mankind).

It is important for us to share our faith with others. Think of the conversions in Antioch or of our own people. If the faith had not been shared the Church would not have grown. We must do this to meet Christ’s command to baptize all nations. That means even those that we are at odds with it. We as Serbian people must be very careful because of the persecutions we have received over the years. It is very easy for us to be inward looking and to hate those of races that have persecuted us in the past. However we must remember the words of our most holy Patriarch Pavle at a memorial service for those who died as a result of the US and NATO bombing, we must pray that this evil should never fall upon another race of people. Thus, to be a Christian we must love all of mankind, even those that hate us. With this type of outlook we will draw all men to Christ’s Holy Church when they are ready to accept Christ.

The second point is how our Lord speaks to the woman about her five husbands and that one she currently has that is not her husband. She is embarrassed by this fact and tries to hide it with her words. Christ being God sees all things and all knows all things. He knows the truth of her situation and confronts her with it. Saint Nikolai Velimirovic in one of his sermons on this topic refers to the five husbands as the five senses. He goes on to say the one she is with now is what happens to a soul after it has indulged all the senses and grown tired of them. This is a depraved state for the soul. This is when the soul starts to become lost in sin.

It sounds a lot like the world around us. The TV shows have more and more racier material to indulge our senses. It is not just TV; it is radio, advertising, printed material, the internet, the list is almost endless. Thirty years ago what you see today in the open would have been only talked about in some dark corner, with a feeling of shame.

Most of all money rules the day. How is the economy and how are our investments are doing matter most of all. It does not seem to matter if the gains were achieved ethically.

As the woman finds out her life has left her thirsty and hungry for something that she cannot find within herself. This is the state most of us find ourselves in, hungry and thirsty for something the world cannot provide for us. The woman finds that it is only through a life in Christ that she will able to be satisfied. It is same for us. All of the indulgences we have should be given up. Our focus should always be one the one thing needful, Christ.

The final point for today’s gospel is about worship of God. Both the Jews and Samaritans had a misunderstanding regarding the worship of God. Christ corrects the misunderstanding in today’s Gospel. He says that God is to be worshipped in Spirit and Truth.

People often misunderstand these words of Christ. They often think that this gives them some sort of exemption from following the rules of the Church. Christ did give to the Church certain rules to maintain order and to ensure people stay on the right path. Thus, prayer and fasting are necessary; attendance at the services is required as well as confession and the communion.

The harder part of this command has to do with the worship of God in Spirit and Truth. All too often it is very easy for us to fall into a certain routine and become mechanical in our worship of God. We get bound up in all the rules and forget the Spirit and Truth of the rules. The rules are important but, we must remember why they are there as a help for us. We need to have love in our hearts for each other and our fellow man for the rules to meaningful. Without this love we will be like Israel of old “a whitewashed tomb.”

Without this love no one will want to be with us. The fields that are ready for harvest will go to waste. So we must do the will of God and full all that He has taught us.

The Samaritan woman went on to become a disciple of Christ. She was given the name Photini, illumined, or Светлана in Serbian. Through the example of her life she brought many into the Church, even the Emperor Nero’s daughter Domnina. She died a martyr after many torturers.

So my dear brothers and sisters in Christ my prayer is that the Lord our God will illumine us as He did the Samaritan. So that we may share in the illumination she received and truly to live a Christian life. Thus, having the thirst of our sinful souls quenched by Him; so we may live as examples of faith and love to others so they will come to Him.

Amen

Хритос Васкрсе! Ваистину Васкрсе!

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

Delivered by Fr. Milan Medakovic at Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church, Youngstown Ohio on Sunday of the Samaritan Women 2009.

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