Gospel Reflections

3rd Sunday of Lent

John 4:5-42

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Helen Bellew

Published: March 04, 2018

Read John 4:5-42

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there. Read More…

Is the Lord in our midst or not?”  “If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts

The image of two trains on parallel tracks comes to mind when reading both the story from Exodus and the encounter of Jesus with the Samaritan woman in John’s gospel.

The Israelites are frustrated with their circumstances as they trek through the desert on their return to Jerusalem. They are so focused on their immediate discomfort that they are unable to remember and appreciate God’s care for them thus far on their journey – the parting of the Red Sea, the manna which sustained them. They are unable to trust that God will continue to provide. TWO TRAINS ON PARALLEL TRACKS.

Rather than abandoning this people with whom God has made a Covenant, God sends yet another sign of care by providing life sustaining water from the rock. This symbol of water punctuates the presence of God in the Hebrew Scriptures and carries into the New Testament narrative as a key indicator of God’s salvific action.

In Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman, we witness the disconnect in the conversation.  Jesus is offering the gift of eternal life, while the Samaritan woman interprets His words as quenching the human condition of thirst – “You don’t have a bucket”;  “Give me this water so that I may not have to keep coming here to draw water." AGAIN, TWO TRAINS ON PARALLEL TRACKS!

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, we learn that God’s love is so strong that Christ died for us; that through Christ, “we have gained access to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in the hope of the glory of God and hope” – this expectation, this anticipated outcome “does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”  

In our present day world experience, it can be challenging and at times overwhelming to sustain a durable and resilient hope in the face of unimaginable and widespread suffering in the vast expanse of the common home we share.  We who believe, we who “have gained access to this grace in which we stand”, we are called to notice, to be aware, to raise hope in the hearts of those around us because the “love of God has been poured out into our hearts and the Holy Spirit has been given to us”.  As Jesus proclaims and repeats in John’s gospel “the hour is coming when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth."  God’s Spirit will reveal the truth to those who notice, to those who travel on the same track of awareness of God’s presence, God’s action, God’s protection and guidance; to those who “harden not their hearts” when they hear God’s voice in everyday experiences, and come into God’s presence “with thanksgiving and singing psalms of joy”!  

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