Gospel Reflection for 15th March 2020 The Third Sunday of Lent
The Woman at the Well
John’s gospel is known for its long passages of dialogue, but of all the gospels, the conversation Jesus has with the woman at the well is the longest Jesus has with anyone.
It begins with a very ordinary description of Jesus; ‘tired by the journey, Jesus sat by a well.’ While he is catching his breath, a woman arrives at the well and Jesus begins the conversations with a simple request: he asks her for a drink. She is surprised that a stranger would speak to her in public. Then she sees that he is a Jew. She is a Samaritan and they were not on speaking terms with Jews at all.
As Jesus slowly talks and listens to her, he tells her that he the one who brings life and that whoever drinks of his water will never thirst again. They will have a spring of living and life-giving water deep within them – forever. He reveals who he is: the Messiah and he also shows her who she is and more importantly who she can be. She just came to collect water, but she is going to receive so much more because of her encounter with this man. She accepts Jesus’ invitation saying; ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I may never thirst again.’ At that moment she is changed and transformed; she becomes a new person at a deep and personal level. The conversation led to an experience and encounter with Jesus through which her eyes, heart and whole life were opened up to a whole new way of living. She left the well, bursting with the good news, ran back to the village and told everyone what had happened to her and whom she had met. Many believed in Jesus because of her; she became a missionary disciple.
Are we so different from this great woman? Every time we pray and go to mass we are offered the opportunity to experience and encounter Jesus. Jesus offers us his very self and life through his Body and Blood. Once we accept his invitation, as she did, we will never be hungry or thirsty again. Jesus offers us his greatest gift to satisfy our deepest needs and desires. Can we open our hearts and lives to Jesus so that we too can be changed and transformed into the people he wants us to be? Times of prayer and especially the Eucharist, are our well today – these are times and places where we meet Jesus who longs to talk and listen to us.
At the end of every mass we hear the words, ‘Go now to love and serve the Lord.’ Having experienced Jesus in a profound way, we are asked to do what the woman at the well did. We are asked to leave the well to go and share what we have seen, heard and experienced. We too are called and challenged to become missionary disciples. She didn’t stay at the well and neither can we.
The call to love and serve each other is the core of the gospel and Christian teaching. Now more than ever as the Coronavirus spreads across Ireland, Britain and rest of the world, let keep each other in prayers during these difficult and testing times. Let us not lose hope, faith or confidence in ourselves, each other or God at this time.
-Br Michael Moore OMI
Gospel for March 15th : John 4:5-42 ©
A spring inside him, welling up to eternal life
Jesus came to the Samaritan town called Sychar, near the land that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well is there and Jesus, tired by the journey, sat straight down by the well. It was about the sixth hour When a Samaritan woman 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, ‘What? You are a Jew and you ask me, a Samaritan, for a drink?’ – Jews, in fact, do not associate with Samaritans. Jesus replied:
If you only knew what God is offering nd who it is that is saying to you:
Give me a drink,
you would have been the one to ask,
and he would have given you living water’.
‘You have no bucket, sir,’ she answered ‘and the well is deep: how could you get this living water? Are you a greater man than our father Jacob who gave us this well and drank from it himself with his sons and his cattle?’ Jesus replied
‘Whoever drinks this water
will get thirsty again;
but anyone who drinks the water that I shall give
will never be thirsty again:
the water that I shall give
will turn into a spring inside him, welling up to eternal life’.
‘Sir,’ said the woman ‘give me some of that water, so that I may never get thirsty and never have to come here again to draw water.’ ‘Go and call your husband’ said Jesus to her ‘and come back here.’ The woman answered, ‘I have no husband’. He said to her, ‘You are right to say, “I have no husband”; for although you have had five, the one you have now is not your husband. You spoke the truth there.’ ‘I see you are a prophet, sir’ said the woman. ‘Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, while you say that Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.’ Jesus said:
‘Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You worship what you do not know;
we worship what we do know:
for salvation comes from the Jews.
But the hour will come – in fact it is here already –
when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth:
that is the kind of worshipper the Father wants.
God is spirit,
and those who worship
must worship in spirit and truth.’
The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah – that is, Christ – is coming; and when he comes he will tell us everything’. ‘I who am speaking to you,’ said Jesus ‘I am he.’
At this point his disciples returned, and were surprised to find him speaking to a woman, though none of them asked, ‘What do you want from her?’ or, ‘Why are you talking to her?’ The woman put down her water jar and hurried back to the town to tell the people. ‘Come and see a man who has told me everything I ever did; I wonder if he is the Christ?’ This brought people out of the town and they started walking towards him.
Meanwhile, the disciples were urging him, ‘Rabbi, do have something to eat; but he said, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about’. So the disciples asked one another, ‘Has someone been bringing him food?’ But Jesus said:
is to do the will of the one who sent me,
and to complete his work.
Have you not got a saying:
Four months and then the harvest?
Well, I tell you:
Look around you, look at the fields;
already they are white, ready for harvest!
Already the reaper is being paid his wages,
already he is bringing in the grain for eternal life,
and thus sower and reaper rejoice together.
For here the proverb holds good:
one sows, another reaps;
I sent you to reap
a harvest you had not worked for.
Others worked for it;
and you have come into the rewards of their trouble.’
Many Samaritans of that town had believed in him on the strength of the woman’s testimony when she said, ‘He told me all I have ever done’, so, when the Samaritans came up to him, they begged him to stay with them. He stayed for two days, and when he spoke to them many more came to believe; and they said to the woman, ‘Now we no longer believe because of what you told us; we have heard him ourselves and we know that he really is the saviour of the world’.
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