Samaritan Woman Listening to Jesus (John 4: 7-26)
Rome, Catacomb Mural, 320 A.D.-350 A.D.

I like this most ancient painting that evokes the scene of Jesus and the Samaritan woman. It shows Jesus radically breaking accepted social conventions of his day, embodying the radical embrace by God of all humanity.

A Jew, Jesus is in the company of a Samaritan. As a male, he is conversing in public with a woman. The painter takes the scene even further, showing the Samaritan woman strongly upright in Jesus’ presence, of equal height, looking straight into his eyes. (I also love seeing a rendition of Jesus long before long hair and a beard became seemingly mandatory!)

In the stillness of the scene, I have the sense that the Samaritan woman is listening to Jesus. It is a wonderful scene to reflect upon for many reasons, and particularly this Sunday as we explore the spiritual discipline of listening. In anticipation, I pass on these words of Frederick Buechner, in his book Whistling In The Dark

Let us say that I can see you: you exist for me in space, which is where seeing happens. But let us say that I can not see you and only hear you, you exist for me not in space which is where seeing happens but in time, which is where hearing happens.
When I have only the sound of you to go by, I do not experience you as an object the way I would if you stood before me, something that I can walk around, inspect from all angles, more or less define. I experience you not objectively but intimately, more like the way I experience the beating of my own heart or the flow of my own thoughts, hearing you speak brings you to me by the most direct of all routes.

Listening to God, speaking through Jesus by the work of the Holy Spirit, is a foundational way of growing intimately in relationship with God and for good … but it is a discipline!

Join us this Sunday morning in worship, including both praise and listening. Have a look at the Order of Service, and the announcements. We would welcome you warmly! (There is a nursery for infants and a programme for children offered during the service. There is free parking available in the city surface lot off Queen Street just behind the church, and on the streets around. Please note that the time of day restrictions on the streets north of Queen are not in effect on Sundays.)

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