Christ and the Woman of Samaria, 1647
oil on canvas
116.8 x 155.9 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 14809)
Thirsty after stopping on a journey, Christ encounters a woman who has come to draw water from a well. He speaks with her, using water as a metaphor for salvation: "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life." The woman seems not to have yet grasped his meaning; we must imagine how the scene continues to unfold, and the sudden shock of understanding that rivets her attention.