You have no bucket and the well is deep

Orthodox icon of St Photina, the Samaritan woman at the well.

A few weeks ago, the popular YA author John Green preached at Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis. The gospel text for the third Sunday of Lent is John’s account of the Jesus’ meeting the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well. You can listen to Green’s sermon here (and I highly recommend that you do!) Among the themes Mr Green raised were the generous and radical engagement with the Other (like a Jewish man’s engaging dialogue with a woman of Samaria), our connection with old things (like the Samaritan use of Jacob’s Well) and the importance of listening for the voices of those not right in front of our faces (a la Chesterton’s famous quip that Tradition is the democracy of the dead). But the main point, and one that bears reemphasizing here on this modest platform, lies in the woman’s statement to Jesus – you have no bucket and well is deep. Despite mind-boggling advances in our understanding of the world, allowing us to live longer and more securely and comfortably than ever before, despite advances in communication technology connecting us instantly with people everywhere and amplifying voices often ignored in the past, despite all this and more, we still find ourselves at a deep well without a bucket. To whom do you turn or where do you go when facing the deep well bucketless?


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