Of all the literature produced by the early Syrian church, the most prized was composed by Ephrem the Syrian, often called “The Harp of the Holy Spirit”. One of his hymns memorialises the faith of the Samaritan woman whom Jesus met at the well and sent forth as a missionary (see John 4)
O, to you woman in whom I see
a wonder as great as in Mary!
For she from within her womb
in Bethlehem brought forth His body as a child,
but you by your mouth made him manifest
as an adult in Shechem, the town of His father’s household.
Blessed are you, woman, who brought forth by your mouth
light for those in darkness.
Mary, the thirsty land in Nazareth conceived our Lord by her ear.
You, too, O woman thirsting for water,
conceived the Son by your hearing.
Blessed are your ears that drank the source
that gave drink to the world.
Mary planted Him in a manger,
but you planted Him in the ears of His hearers.
Your word, O woman, became a mirror
in which He might see your hidden heart.
“The Messiah”, you had said, “will come,
and when He comes He will give us everything.”
Behold the Messiah for whom you waited, modest woman!
With your voice your prophecy was fulfilled.
Your voice, O woman, first brought forth fruit,
before even the apostles, with the kerygma.
The apostles were forbidden to announce Him
among pagans and Samaritans.
Blessed is your mouth that He opened and confirmed.
Ephrem the Syrian: Hymns tr. Kathleen E McVey. The Classics of Western Spirituality. New York: 1989. Hymn #23