What if the Woman at the Well images a Mystery of Christian Division? Read below for suggestion.
In Part I, we looked at how the Old Testament North, which separated from God’s true Kingdom of Old, can be seen as a type of all Christian division, and not just heresy or just schism. Now we will probe further type of division in the Woman at the Well in the New Testament.
Toward that end, we can ask, what if there were another image of New Covenant ecclesiology? There is: the Samaritan woman at the well! This makes sense firstly because the Samaritans were the epitome of the unorthodox to the Jews of Jesus’ time. Too, the Samaritans were not only unorthodox but descendants of the original North. Hence, the Samaritans are in a perfect position as the Old Testament unorthodox to bear, within themselves, the totality of phases and types of NT unorthodoxy, or division.
Human Sexuality as Image of Holy Orders
Now, to begin, we note the woman, per the words of the Savior, has five husbands, and then a live-in fornicator. This suggests a mystical tie between sexuality and Christian division. Indeed, this is precisely the case, as follows.
Firstly, we know that human sexuality between man and woman is an image of the spiritual spousal relationship between the God and His People, between the Creator and the creature. How? Well, the mystery is this: physically, the act of love between man and woman images the spiritual relationship between God, the Creator, and the creature. More specifically, simply consider the blatant similarities: man has a proceeding sexuality, and woman has a receptive sexuality. Man holds the seed of life that is originally infused. Woman, effectively, receives it. This is the precise nature of the seed of “truth and grace” in the spiritual life: God, the Creator, is the ultimate source of all truth and grace, not the creature. The creature, effectively, is in a receptive position with regard to truth and grace. We creatures do not determine the truth; God does. God is the truth! “I am the way, the truth, and the life!” Moreover, all grace is a finite created participation in the Divine life and love of the Trinity. It must come from God; it must be given by God. The creature does not create grace. The creature receives it.
Similarly, just as man overshadows woman from above [“The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you.”] and enters her inner being, lovingly infusing the total gift of life, the seed of life, so God overshadows the creature, enters its inmost being, the soul, and lovingly infuses grace for the will and truth for the intellect. The grace is conceived and brought forth in new life, a new life that proceeds from the creature to the outer world, meaning, the creature renewed at Mass with God’s Words and strength in the Eucharist goes forth to “love and serve the Lord”, to bring the life and truth it received to others through acts of charity and evangelization.