Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: Day 3

2015_WPCU_Poster_inner_240x349Day 3, “I have no husband” (John 4:17)


  • 2 Kings 17:24-34, Samaria conquered by Assyria
  • Psalms 139:1-12, O Lord, you have searched me and you know me
  • Romans 7:1-4, You have died to the law through the body of Christ
  • John 4:16-19, I have no husband



The Samaritan woman answers Jesus: “I have no husband but Jesus knows the woman has had five husbands, and the man she has now is not her husband.

What is this woman’s situation? Did her husbands ask for divorce? Was she a widow? Did she have children? These questions arise naturally when dealing with this narrative. Jesus acknowledges the woman’s life but remains open to her, to encounter her. Jesus does not insist on a moral interpretation of her answer but seems to want to lead her beyond. As a result the woman’s attitude towards Jesus changes. At this point, the obstacles of cultural and religious differences fade into the background in order to give space to something much more important: an encounter in trust. Jesus’ behavior in this moment allows us to open new windows and raise further questions, questions about the differences which stand in the way of the unity we seek and for which we pray.


O you who are beyond all things, how could we call you by any other name? What song could be sung for you? No word can express you. What Spirit can perceive you? No intelligence can comprehend you. You alone are inexpressible. All that is said has come from you. You alone are unknowable. All that is thought has come from you. All creatures proclaim you, those who speak and those who are dumb. Every one desires you. Everyone sighs and aspires after you. All that exists prays to you and every being that can contemplate your universe raises to you a silent hymn. Have pity on us, you who are beyond all things. How could we call you by any other name? Amen.  (Attributed to Gregory of Nazianzus.)

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