May 31, 2021

Sunday of the Samaritan Woman - True Worshipers (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

"God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (Jn. 4:24)

God and all the truth about God is not a revelation of man, but a revelation of God Himself to those who are worthy of revelation. We see this clearly in Holy Scripture and in the lives of the saints, who are "an epistle of Christ." God who has revealed Himself to man, gives him knowledge, and this knowledge of God entails the salvation of man. The Lord told the Jews, "For unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins" (John 8:24). That is, the presence of Christ as "I am" is the true life for man, while the ignorance of God constitutes the death of man. In the Samaritan woman the Lord revealed Himself and this resulted in her salvation.

In the conversation that Christ had with the woman at Jacob's Well, He revealed the way of the true worship of God. God is a spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him "in spirit and in truth." These words have great depth and it is unfortunate that we will try to interpret it in only a few words.

According to the Patristic Interpretation,
the Triune God Manifests Here.

We all know that the Christian God is not a monad or dyad, but a Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In the Divine Liturgy we confess: "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Trinity, one in essence and undivided." God the Father is "the Father of the Truth, namely, of the Only Begotten Son, and has the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit." Therefore God is known and worshiped in Christ who is the Truth and in the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father and is sent through the Son.

According to the teaching of Saint Gregory Palamas, which summarizes the teaching of the Church, the Father is the Speaker, the Son is the Word and the Holy Spirit is the Breath of creation. The Speaker revealed the Word, the Word revealed the Speaker and "manifested and gave" the Holy Spirit who revealed the Trinity of God. The revelation of the Holy Trinity, according to the Athonite Saint, is common, and at the same time gradual, due to human weakness. That is why the Lord in the middle of His activity on earth proclaimed that He is the Son of God and finally revealed the Holy Spirit and His mission. And this is because people were unable to comprehend the trinity of God.

We are brought to the Father through the Son: "No one comes to the Father except through the Son" (John 14:6). And communion with Christ is made by the Holy Spirit. For no one can see Christ without the Holy Spirit, since "no one can say, 'Lord Jesus,' except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:3). According to Saint Symeon the New Theologian, the Father is the house: "In my Father's house are many mansions" (John 14:2). The Son is the door through which we enter the house: “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture”(John 10:9). And the Holy Spirit is the key through which we open the door.

It Should be Noted and Highlighted That
the Church is the True Place of the Theophany.

And when we truly live in the Church, which is the Body of the God-man Christ ("in Truth") and when we receive the energies of the Holy Spirit ("in Spirit"), then we are true worshipers of God, we acquire the knowledge of God and taste of salvation. This is also evident from the fact that the Church is called Orthodoxy and this, after all, is the true Church. Orthodoxy means "correct glory", that is, the correct teaching of the Triune God. Where there is unadulterated faith, there is true worship, and in order for worship to be true, it must be linked to unadulterated teaching.

There are many people today who experience a "god" or seek with passion and great desire to meet God. We notice that today there is a great turn in this matter and it has been characteristically said that the 21st century will be a century of religion. Modern people, tired of pointless searches and traumatic disenchantment, living in a world of despair, are looking for something authentic. But in this new search new mistakes can be made. New false messiahs will intensify the gap between people. That is why the great truth must be proclaimed in every direction, that the search for God outside of Christ, the search for Christ outside the Church, the life of the Church without the radiance of the Holy Spirit and the Church outside of Orthodoxy, lead to delusion and pave the way for new painful adventures.

In these modern apocalyptic times, we Orthodox have increased responsibilities.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.