May 14, 2017

Hymns on the Samaritan Woman (St. Ephraim the Syrian)

By St. Ephraim the Syrian

Blessed are you, O woman,
drawer of ordinary water,
who turned out to be a drawer of living water.
You found the treasure,
the Source from whom a flood of mercies flows.

The spring had dried up,
but it broke through to you
and gave you to drink.
He was poor,
but he asked in order to enrich you.

The Glorious Fount,
He who was sitting at the well
as Giver of drink to all,
flows to each according to His will:
different springs according to those who drink.
From the well a single drink
comes up each time for those who sup,
but the Living Fount lets distinct blessings
flow to distinct people.

Blessed are you
to whom he gave living water to drink,
and you did not thirst again, as you said.
For he called the truth “living water,”
since all who hear it will not thirst again.
Blessed are you who learned the truth and did not thirst;
for one is the Messiah, and there is no more.

Blessed are you, O woman,
for not suppressing your judgement about what you discovered.
Your love was zealous
to share your treasure with your city.
You left behind your pitcher,
but filled with understanding
you gave your people to drink.

In you, O woman, I see a wonder as great as Mary!
For she, from within her womb,
in Bethlehem brought forth his body as a child,
but you by your mouth made him manifest
as an adult in Shechem.
Blessed are you, woman,
Who brought forth by your mouth
light for those in darkness.

Mary, the thirsty land in Nazareth,
conceived our Lord by her ear.
You too, O woman thirsting for water,
conceived the Son by your hearing.
Blessed are your ears that drank the source
that gave drink to the world.
Mary planted him in the manger,
but you planted him in the ears of his hearers.
Your voice, O woman, brought forth first fruit,
before even the apostles, announcing the Messiah.
The apostles were forbidden to announce him
among pagans and Samaritans.
Blessed is your mouth that he opened and confirmed.

Blessed are you, O woman.

From Ephrem the Syrian: Hymns, The Classics of Western Spirituality, Hymns 22-23, pp. 355-363.