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Photini, the Woman at the Well

1 November 2015 No Comment

Alone you carry your water jar to Jacob’s well

No neighbor comes at noon in desert heat

What deters you from joining other women?

Fetching water you meet a dusty thirsty rabbi

Parched with no vessel he says “Give me a drink,”

You question how a rabbi could ask you for water

Jews have no dealings with Samaritan outcasts like you

Who marry non-Jews and worship at Mt. Gerezim.


He remains seated and looks up to you standing

You expect a rabbi to rise and talk down to you

He says your water will slake thirst for a moment

Offers you water to quench thirst for a lifetime

Baffled you ask is he greater than father Jacob

He answers “Bring your husband back for living water,”

You confess you are not married to your partner

A serious sin.


He knows you’re unmarried and you’ve had five husbands

His astonishing respect prompts your grateful smile

Esteem replaces shame and you stand taller

He says worshiping in Jerusalem is not what matters

Worshiping the Father in spirit and truth is all

You reply the Messiah is coming to tell all things

“I am He” he replies “the one who is speaking to you,”

He speaks with authority and knows all about you.


His disciples marvel that Jesus speaks to you

They see a lowly woman, worse a Samaritan

Yet Jesus first reveals Himself to you

He discloses his divinity to the outcast of outcasts

Free from judgment He welcomes all into His tent

He raises you by speaking with you from below

He offers you and your partner living water

He tells you truth: He is the bearer of eternal life.


You rush home to Sychar to spread the word

A rabbi at the well knows your history without asking

No longer ashamed you lead your neighbors to Jesus

In two days with Him they become enlightened too

You convert your five sisters and both sons to the Way

Become a disciple like one of the twelve

Who baptize you Photoni “the enlightened one”

You convert multitudes in Carthage and Rome.


Your rising crowd of followers alarms Emperor Nero

The half-mad ruler orders you and your family arrested

Appearing without capture you surprise the cruel monarch

Befuddled he asks what brought you to his court

“I’ve come to teach you to believe in Jesus Christ,”

“Are you prepared to die for the Nazarene?” he threatens

“For the love of Him I’ll gladly give my life,”

He orders your knuckles beaten with iron rods for three hours.


“No matter what anyone does to me I’m not afraid,”

He offers riches to persuade you to renounce your faith

A golden table covered with gold coins jewels and dresses

Failing, he sends his daughter, Domnina, to convince you

Instead you convert her and baptize her Anthousa

She gives the gold coins jewels and dresses to the poor

Enraged Nero has your five sisters and two sons beheaded

Has you brought before him to ask if you now relent.


You laugh. “Oh stupid man do you think me so deluded

I would renounce my Lord Christ to idols as blind as you?”

His guards cast you into a deep dry well head down

Having drunk the living water you enter life eternal

We revere the passion of our courageous sister

The Eastern Orthodox Church canonizes Saint Photini

Your transformation inspires all who hear your story

Showing outcasts how to recast ourselves as saints.

©Dr. Doug Welpton

















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