Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Woman at the Well

Title: The Woman at the Well

Artist: Daniel Bonnell

Medium: oil on canvas

Size: 61 x 96.5 cm

Date: c. 2006

Location: Anglican Church of Sussex, England.

In John 4:3-28 Jesus travels to the Samarian town of Sychar, and rests at Jacob's Well. While his disciples go into the town to get food, a Samaritan woman comes to the well and Jesus asks her for a drink. Jesus breaks all the rules of Jewish piety here, and even the woman is surprised and says that Samaritans and Jews do not associate. Jesus responds that if she really knew who he was, she would have asked him for the "water that gives life." The woman asks for this "water" and Jesus tells her to go and find her husband and bring him back. When the woman states she has no husband, Jesus says that although that is true, he know she has already been married five times and is now living with a man who is not her husband. The woman then believes that Jesus is a prophet, and he teaches her about worshipping God, declaring "The time is coming - indeed it’s here now - when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way." The woman then says that the messiah will come and explain all. Jesus declares that he is the messiah.

In the Gospel of John we see the glory of God shining ever more brightly. It shines first in kosher Jewish settings, both in the Galilean countryside and in Jerusalem, then the glory shines among various despised people who are less than kosher, including a Samaritan adulteress and a Herodian official. There was great hatred between the Samaritans and the Jews. The woman at the well was an alien and hostile Samaritan, merely speaking to her was thought to disgrace a Jew. Yet to this woman Jesus revealed himself more fully than he had yet done to any of his disciples. No past sins can bar our acceptance with him, if we humble ourselves before him, believing in him as the Christ, the Savior of the world.

Daniel Bonnell is an American painter (b. 1955). A graduate of the Atlanta College of Art, he studied under renowned photographer Ansel Adams and designer Milton Glaser. Various Publications from around the world use the art of Daniel Bonnell, as well as such renown authors as Tom Wright and Alister McGrath for their book covers. His work can be found in private collections and churches around the world, as well as on his website at

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