Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Well Said: The Fifth Gospel* — and Jacob's Well

Reading St. John beside Jacob's Well, one realizes that the conversation grew out of the surroundings and could not have been imagined by anyone. The water, the mountain, the road to Sychar on which the Samaritans soon appear, drawn by the news which the woman has carried to the village, are all so life-like, so vivid. And Jesus bade His disciples:

"Life up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest."

Critics have written learned dissertations to prove that the fields could not have been white with the harvest: it was too early in the year. And others have provided all kinds of explanations to force this episode into Gospel chronology. But as I sat by Jacob's Well a crowd of Arabs came along the road from the direction in which Jesus was looking, and I saw their white garments shining in the sun.

Surely Jesus was speaking not of the earthly but of the heavenly harvest, and as He spoke I think it likely that He pointed along the road where the Samaritans in their white robes were assembling to hear His words.
H.V. Morton, In the Steps of the Master
Morton writes repeatedly of how his imagination is struck by the fact that the geography and natural situations bring the Gospels to life. This is a particularly vivid example and must be the sort of thing that strikes enthusiastic tourists to this day. (I hope it will be something that I am "awake" enough to catch when we visit ... if you are interested, do check out the link; there is room for more in our group!)

* Five gospels record the life of Jesus. Four you will find in books and the one you will find in the land they call Holy. Read the fifth gospel and the world of the four will open to you. (St. Jerome)

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