Many readers of the fourth chapter of John think that in saying, "Thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband," our Master administered a merited rebuke to the Samaritan woman; but a study of the Scriptures in the light of our text-book shows this to be but one of the many instances where Jesus used a familiar material symbol to illustrate a spiritual truth. The five husbands may well typify the five material senses which, up to that moment, had dominated the woman's thought and life; and the new spiritual consciousness, already dawning on her through the impartation of the great Teacher, she had not yet made her own. (See Science and Health, p. 460.)

There is nothing in the story to indicate that this woman was of immoral character; on the contrary, it would not seem likely that a degraded woman would have had the necessary influence to induce "many of the Samaritans of that city" to accept her new-found friend and his teachings; neither would she have shown in her conversation with the Master evidence of familiarity with the religious teachings of the times, and glad expectancy of the Messianic appearing. The numeral five seems to stand for the material senses also in the parables of the wise and foolish virgins, the talents, the sparrows, etc. How frequently do we find occasion for gratitude for the added light which the teachings of Christian Science throw upon the Bible, making it truly a new book; so inaugurating that most important of all transformations, when "old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

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April 25, 1908

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