Silence is golden

icon of Christ with the Samaritan Woman

The fifth Sunday of Holy Pascha is the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman. During the reading of the Gospel of Saint John 4:5-42, we hear of Jesus Christ’s encounter with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well.

During Father Valerian Michlik’s May 19 homily at St. Gregory in Upper St. Clair, Pa., he stated the conversation transcribed by Saint John changed the woman’s life. “Conversations with Jesus are conversations that can change
you forever,” Father Valerian said.

It certainly did in this woman’s case, as she subsequently became a saint known as Saint Photina or St. Svetlana. Saint John writes: “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” I am not a theologian so it wouldn’t be correct for me to discuss the theological aspect of their conversation.

But I was struck by Father Valerian’s remark that this dialogue between Jesus Christ and the woman is the longest conversation between Him and another person recorded in the Bible. To a lay person like myself, it’s quite an astounding fact, considering all of the conversations Christ had with His Apostles and others, such at the man born blind and the paralytic man.

Of course, prayer or “spiritual communication between you and God” is also known as a “dialogue of silence” with God, said Father Valerian. While the Samaritan woman’s life was changed through a vocal conversation with Christ,
it’s amazing how our lives can be changed in silence.