The Church has given the woman in today’s Gospel passage the name “Photina”. Her name is based on the word “light” because she is both enlightened herself, and directs the whole town back to Christ who is the Light of Life.
What does it mean that she is enlightened? First, remember we are in the Paschal season, so the neophytes (newly baptized) called the “Newly Enlightened” are discovering the many fruits of what it means to have:
-died to the old self to live for Christ – Colossians 3:3
-put off the old man and put on the new – Ephesians 4:22
-been called to offer mercy, not fruitless sacrifice – Matthew 9:13/ Hosea 6:6
-guided to embrace a neediness before God, sorrow for injustice, humility, yearning for God’s Way, forgiveness, abhorrence of selfish violence, courage in God’s Will, and a willingness to be a beacon of Truth in a world that exalts power and control – Matthew 5
The Samaritan Woman, before encountering Christ, was living a life of discontent, pleasure-seeking and shame. After Christ, she has rest, contentment, healing and confidence. Her previous life was one of the darkness of deception. She was deceived to believe that she could find happiness in the goods of this world, engage in false worship, and run away from suffering. When Christ enlightened her (Christ giving her “living Water” points to baptism) she has discovered the one relationship that will fulfill her neediness, knows how to interact with the Divine, and has the confidence to become fearless before evil. She is no longer deceived, but rather has found the Truth and is changing her life as a result.
She then enlightens the whole town by refusing to hoard the Gift she has received, but rather knows that that Gift is only amplified when it continues to be given, and so becomes a witness to the healing power of God.
Saturday, May 1 –