Franceschini, Giacomo - Gesù e la Samaritana al pozzo

The Water of Life Discourse between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well, by Giacomo Franceschini, 17-18th century

The Samaritan woman at the well is an episode in the life of Jesus that appears only in the Gospel of John, in John 4:4-26.[1] In Eastern Orthodox Church tradition, she is known as Photine (from φως, the luminous one).

According to the John 4:

Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)[2]

This episode takes place after the return of Jesus to Galilee.[3] Culturally there was great enmity between the Jews and the Samaritans, who were considered a half-breed race by the Jews.[4]

This Gospel episode is referred to as "a paradigm for our engagement with truth", in the Roman Curia book A Christian reflection on the New Age, as the dialogue says: "You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know" and offers an example of Jesus Christ the bearer of the water of life.[5]

The passages that comprise John 4:10-26 are sometimes referred to as the Water of Life Discourse which forms a complement to the Bread of Life Discourse.[6]

In Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico, a celebration of the Samaritan woman takes place on the fourth Friday of Lent. Churches, schools, and businesses give away fruit drinks to passers by.[7]

See also

St Photina

Photine, Samaritan woman, meets Jesus (Orthodox icon)


  1. The Gospel of John by Joseph Ponessa, Laurie Watson Manhardt 2005 ISBN 1-931018-25-1 page 39
  2. Bible gateway
  3. The Gospel according to Saint John by Andrew T. Lincoln 2005 ISBN 1-56563-401-2 page 169
  4. Deffinbaugh, Bob. "The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)." <>
  5. Vatican website A Christian reflection on the New Age
  6. The Gospel According to St. John: An Introduction With Commentary and Notes by C. K. Barrett 1955 ISBN 0-664-22180-7 page 12
  7. Vive Oaxaca La Samaritana 2011 en Oaxaca
ca:Samaritana (personatge bíblic)mk:Света Фотина

pt:Samaritana no poço ru:Фотина Самаряныня sr:Фотина Самарићанка sh:Fotina Samaritanka