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Faith is NOT “Believing What Someone Else Tells Us”

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In the Gospel of John, Jesus comes to ‘Jacob’s Well’ where Jacob had met Rachel. But this time a high representative of the Feminine doesn’t appear. Instead, a lower representative appears, a Samaritan woman who doesn’t recognize Christ (though she’s heard he’s coming and hopes to see him). She draws some water and Jesus asks for a drink. She’s surprised, since Jews did not share things with Samaritans. Jesus says, “If you knew who is saying, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

But this is the lower Feminine principle, and she gives herself away with a literal and superficial question: “Sir, you have no bucket and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?” Jesus answers “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water I give them will never be thirsty.”

She still doesn’t understand, and responds somewhat comically, “Sir, give me this water, so I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” Jesus, perhaps a bit exasperated, tells her to “Go, call your husband, and come back.” At first, this seems an odd bit of chauvinism, but he’s speaking symbolically and what this means is that her consciousness is completely attuned to her lower physical nature, which is why she understands everything literally, and he wants her to turn to her higher Mind, her proper ‘husband’. But she says, “I have no husband.” “You’re right”, he says, “for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband.” The five husbands are her five senses, none of which is appropriate.

The Samaritan woman then left and went back to her village, where she told everyone about Jesus and asked them whether they thought he could be the Messiah. We’re told that “many believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.” Then they “left the city” and went to meet him.

When the Samaritans arrive they ask him to spend time with them, and Jesus “stayed there two days”. After this experience they said to the woman, “it is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”

This is a major point that the Bible often makes but no one seems to hear it! Faith is not ‘believing what someone else tells us’. Belief is simply adhering to one conviction or another on thoughtless and inadequate grounds: perhaps because someone told us to believe it, perhaps because believing it makes us happy or comfortable, perhaps because it spares us the effort of thinking for ourselves. Faith, on the other hand, is the result of one’s own authentic experience of the reality of God. Faith is knowing, with absolute certainty, for oneself, from one’s own inner efforts and experience.

Andrew Cort, author of The Purpose of Religion: Enlightenment, Meaning and Love in Jewish, Christian and Islamic Symbology


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