Our Lord’s Language When Encountering the Woman at the Well

by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  July 6, 2017   

"He whom thou now has, is not thy husband"

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Today's hypersensitive and tolerant language — "encounter," "dialogue," "going to the peripheries" and "meeting people where they are" — was used at the Convocation of Catholic Leaders in Orlando, Florida this week. It isn't, however, the language Our Lord used when encountering sinners on "the peripheries."

When Our Lord met the Samaritan woman at the well, she was not of his religion and was making her way through multiple relationships. Our Lord didn't mince words but instead brought up the fact that her marital life was in shambles and her religion was false.

He first brings up her problem with the Sixth Commandment. John 4:17–18 reads, "The woman answered, and said: I have no husband. Jesus said to her: Thou has said well, I have no husband: For thou has had five husbands: and he whom thou now has, is not thy husband."

After agreeing with him by calling him a prophet, she switches topics and goes into religion. John 4:19–22 relates their dialogue: "Our fathers adored on this mountain, and you say that at Jerusalem is the place where men must adore. You adore that which you know not: We adore that which we know; for salvation is of the Jews."

Dealing with divorced and civilly remarried Catholics has been a high-profile issue since the Synod on the Family in 2014, but wasn't even a topic of discussion at the leadership conference in Orlando. The conference promoted "tolerance" and issued trigger warnings to insulate people from sensitive moral issues. This comes at a time when Church leaders are glossing over differences among various religions.

They're all about making "joyful missionary disciples," but being a disciple bespeaks following a master, Who is Our Lord. If they're to be His disciples, then they must follow His example, tone, manner and language — Our Lord never minced words, and was clear, direct, straightforward when encountering people "on the peripheries."

Watch the panel discuss how Church leaders are missing the mark in The Download—The Failing Church.


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