Yale University Art Gallery/Dura-Europos Collection

The Samaritan woman draws water from the well in this painting from a wall in the Dura baptistery. In the Gospel of John, Jesus promises the Samaritan woman that everyone “who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but…the water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life” (John 4:13–14). The baptismal rite recalls this promise of eternal life through water.

Jesus also tells the Samaritan woman that worship “in spirit and truth” will supersede worship at the Samaritan and Jerusalem temples (John 4:21). Thus, this scene may also have been selected to undermine Sabbath attendance at the synagogue, which replaced worship at the Temple.