In2-MeC

newly discovered entries of In2-DeepFreeze       First Generation Animations

Amsterdam, the Netherlands
11 December 2004

A story of Jesus about rasa

In the Gospel of John, there is a story about Jesus' passing through a town called Sychar in Samaria. It was here that at mid-day, apparently weary from his travels, Jesus stopped at Jacob's well. A Samaritan woman came with a water jar to fill it. Jesus asked her to give him a drink. Sarcastically she asked why a Jew was asking a Samaritan for water.

The background is that both the Jewish and Samaritan communities claimed to be descended from the nation of Israel; but neither community approved of the other. The Jews believed Jerusalem to be the only true place of worship, while the Samaritans worshiped at Mt. Gerizim. More than a century before the time of this story of Jesus at Jacob's well, the Jews had destroyed the Samaritan temple at Mt. Gerizim. It was because the Jews thought the Samaritans to be impure in their religious practices that the woman demanded to know why Jesus asked her for water.

In spite of her sarcasm, Jesus did not desist. He assured her that his teaching were for everyone, Samaritans too. As they conversed, he told the woman things about her life that she had tried to keep hidden from others--that she had five husbands, and that the man she was with at present was not one of these to whom she was married. Instead of being offended, the Samaritan woman was astonished. She wondered if this Jew waiting at the well was a prophet.

Jesus spoke to the woman of a spring of water that welled within her up to eternal life. He said if she drank of this water, she would never thirst again. This water is different from ordinary water, which cannot permanently quench thirst.

Leaving her jar by the well, the Samaritan woman hurried to the town to tell her neighbors about this mysterious man. For two days Jesus stayed in Sychar to preach. The people welcomed him as their savior.

It can be seen that this story is about rasa. In the Vedic analysis, each element is associated with a kind of sense-experience. Water (apa) is associated with taste (rasa). When Jesus spoke of a spring of water that rises up within the soul to eternal life, which quenches thirst for good, he was indicating the higher rasa or taste of love of God. Thirst (in Sanskrit, trsna) is used in the Vedic scriptures to indicate unsatisfied, lustful desire--see for example Bhagavad-gita 14. 7. When Jesus pointed out the six relationships the woman was secretly maintaining, the purpose was to teach her that despite all these attachments she was keeping with men, she was still not satisfied.

At the end of the story, her leaving the water jar at the well is significant. She realized that the water of the well would not satisfy her. Enlivened by the higher taste that Jesus provided by his words, she ran to tell the whole town that at Jacob's well the water of eternal life was now being supplied by the Christ.

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