Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The woman at the well

The Christian Bible has its own version of the story of the well. A very different setting, but much the same meaning. It is found in the Gospel of John, Chapter 4. jesus, at about the sixth hour, sits on the well of Jacob when a woman comes to draw water from the well. Jesus, it seems is never shy. He says to her, "give me to drink." The woman is a little confused because, customarily, the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans, but she is polite, and asks how it is that he asks her for a drink. Looks like Jesus was setting her up all along, because then he says, "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that asketh of thee, give me to drink, thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water." Now I think in most cases the woman would have thought, uh oh, here is another nut case, or freaked out, thinking she was getting hit on, but this woman, being puzzled, was also a little intrigued with the situation. She says, "sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep." You see, though she is intrigued, and recognizes this as a special moment, she is not ready to really understand the meaning beyond the physical level. She is representative of the institutionalized church that thinks in terms of doctrine, but only on the physical level. (also, compare this statement with the statement in the I Ching, if the rope doesn't reach the water, or the jug breaks, there is misfortune.) Often our rope does not reach the deeper level. Often we see only in terms of the physical, or if we see more, it is only vaguely, as one "under the spell of wine, in hexagram 22 line 3. In the Bible after one of Jesus's acts of healing a blind man, the blind man says, "I see men as trees walking." In other words, he has gotten an idea that there is a higher level, but he really doesn't understand it yet, further spiritual healing is required. Momentarily after a little discussion, Jesus says, "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again...a well of water springing up into eternal life. It is axiomatic that now he is not talking about worldly affairs, he is talking about something much deeper. The woman being further intrigued, says, give me this water. To her, he is simply talking about some other kind of water, and all she has to do is drink it. Maybe they are both nut cases. She realizes there is something about this man that is different, so she plays along with him to find out. She sees an opportunity here, but still does not realize the depth of the water he is talking about. Then Jesus tells her things about herself he could not have known never having previously met her. Now she is really intrigued. She recognizes he is some sort of prophet. She says, "Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet." But being of the literalist camp, she still does not understand that he is talking about spiritual truths. She is of the first initiation, not the second, (which we will talk about in the future.) Now she gets arguementative with him in a way. "My religion is better than yours. You believe that, we believe this." Her words were, our fathers worshipped in this mountain, and ye say, that in Jerusalem ye ought to worship." What she is saying, is, I can tell you are a prophet, but do you really have the truth? She is subconsciously digging to see what the truth is, should I worship here? Or there? But Jesus answer is, "The hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father." This isn't about religion. This isn't a matter of God wanting us this way, or that way, or saved, or martyred, or even doing good works. This is about understanding spiritual truths spiritually discerned, and it has nothing to do with where you go to church. We do not worship God in a mountain. The mountain is a symbol for a lofty overview, a spiritual discernment, but we do not go there to worship. We worship when we have joy in our lives, when we are thankful for all that has spiritually been given us, and, the rain falls on the unjust as well as the just. We all have something to be thankful for. But Jesus is asking her to look deeper, to forget the physical plain, and delve into the spiritual, or in other words, the quantum physics world, where our beliefs and expectations create the world around us. And we see the beauty of God's kingdom, in fact, we exist, here and now, in the kingdom of heaven.

3 comments:

Michelle said...

Hi Gene,

Oddly enough, I was researching the symbolism of wells recently. In many cultures around the world, the well is a symbol of people coming together, the "community well" where they obtain that life-sustaining liquid water.

I wonder if there isn't some of that community building going on in hexagram 48 also....the "community" of you coming together with the spiritual world for life-sustaining spiritual water - especially since the verb commune implies communication with the unusual: "To be in a state of intimate, heightened sensitivity and receptivity, as with one's surroundings: hikers communing with nature."

gener202 said...

Hi Michelle

Yes, there is most definitely a social thing going on here. I want to point out, though you may already understand this well, that when I say something about a specific hexagram what I am saying is true only in the context of the message I am trying to present. As time goes on I will present the same hexagrams and lines tht I previously mentioned, and will put a much different slant on them. Tbe I Ching, the Bible and all spiritual books are multi-dimensional and cannot be taken on one level only. They have many different meanings in many different contexts. Therefore, all that I have said previously, in a sense, is an absolute lie. As is everything I will say in the future, but it is also true.

Gene

Michelle said...

Hi Gene,

That's the paradox or conundrum of the study of spirituality, I think. It's like a koan...it doesn't matter so much what is said as how you react to it, what it makes you feel and think and do.

But....we do need the words and ideas because they prod us into all that feeling and thinking and doing. In that, the community is when we all do each other a great service just in the talking (or writing).

Your posts are very thought-provoking. :-)