March 12, 2023
John 4: 5-42
Our scriptures for today, the 3rd Sunday of Lent, present us with 2 powerful images-WATER AND THIRST.
In Exodus we hear that the Israelites were dying of thirst in the desert and at Moses’ request of God, he was told to strike the rock and then water flowed out for the people to drink and live instead of perishing in the desert.
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he says “the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.” God’s love poured like water certainly quenches the thirst of our souls.
Then, our Gospel is the powerful story of Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman. Much has been written about her. One author Lynn Cohick writes that the Samaritan Woman’s history fits a pattern we find among first century women of “marrying in their early to late teens, living fairly simple marriage traditions, relatively easy divorce laws, and haunted by the threat that death might at any time steal away a husband…” Her conclusion then is that the Samaritan woman’s five husbands do not necessarily signify loose living; they may signify a series of tragedies for the woman.
Whatever the case she came to the well, ashamed to be seen. There she met Jesus who knew all about her and asked her for a drink. We listen to their conversation and Jesus’ promise to give her life-giving water. She responds “Sir, give me this water so that I may not be thirsty or have to come back to this well again.” So we know what was the woman’s thirst. What about Jesus? Did He come just for a drink? In a reflection on this gospel Pope Francis says “Jesus’ thirst was not so much for water, but for the encounter with a parched soul. Jesus needed to encounter the Samaritan woman in order to open her heart; he asks for a drink so as to bring to light her own thirst.”
What is it for which we thirst?? Do we sometimes hide like the Samaritan Woman out of fear or guilt? Our God is always waiting, longing to give us what we most need. As with the Samaritan woman. Jesus sits in the same place where we are. Even if we want to hide. Jesus wants to love us and give us a new and deeper relationship with Him. Lent is the time to come open and ready to receive all that God desires to give us to quench our thirst and longing.
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. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon.
A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” —For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.— Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
Jesus said to her, “Go call your husband and come back.” The woman answered and said to him, “I do not have a husband.” Jesus answered her, “You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’ For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ; when he comes, he will tell us everything.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one speaking with you.”
At that moment his disciples returned, and were amazed that he was talking with a woman, but still no one said, “What are you looking for?” or “Why are you talking with her?” The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, “Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Christ?” They went out of the town and came to him. Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” So the disciples said to one another, “Could someone have brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here’? I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest. The reaper is already receiving payment and gathering crops for eternal life, so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together. For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap what you have not worked for; others have done the work, and you are sharing the fruits of their work.”
Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me everything I have done.” When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. Many more began to believe in him because of his word, and they said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”
The Gospel of the Lord