Gospel John- 4: 5-42 Third Sunday of Lent

Gospel – 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.”

Chrystus i Samarytanka (en: Christ and Samaritan woman), oil on canvas, 106,5x184 , Gallery of Art in Lviv

Christ and the Samaritan Woman – Henryk Siemiradzki

In Sunday’s Gospel reading, John 4 : 5-42, we find that Jesus has arrived in a town called Samaria. He has been traveling with His disciples and is tired, the disciples have gone to go get some food, leaving Jesus alone. He is sitting at the side of  Jacob’s well to rest for a moment…but perhaps… He had noticed the approaching woman who was carrying her water jar…and perhaps, He has  chosen to rest in close proximity to the well so He could speak to her without causing her too much alarm. Whatever the case; because of His divine nature; Jesus is able to see the troubled life of this Samaritan woman and reaches out to her by saying: “Give me a drink.”

Immediately, the woman is apprehensive. Because normally, Jews do not associate with Samaritans, and because she is there alone, it was unusual for a man to speak to her. Without hesitation, she boldly questions his motives…

“How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—

Jesus is ready, and tells 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.”

We can see by their dialogue that the woman is not understanding the depth in which Jesus is speaking to her. She is taking His words literally…she does not yet realize who she is talking to…she does not yet recognize Him.  But as readers of the Gospel…we are keyed in to the knowledge of Who Christ is…it is almost like watching a suspense thriller and knowing what’s going on before the major players in the movie doas Christians, we already know who the Good Guy is…But in another sense, we meet the Samaritan woman…we see that she is troubled…we may even see a bit of ourselves in her… She is lost, trying unsuccessfully, to find her happiness… by going from one marriage bed to another…searching for something that she has not yet foundThings are not going right for her…that much is obvious

Also, here she is at noon, the hottest part of the day; when most people have already collected their water and carried it home; just arriving at the well…suggesting that perhaps she had waited for the other women to leave…so as to avoid the gossip…or the judging…the thing is…we just don’t know for sure

What we do know, is that Jesus has found her. He has broken the societal norms of the day and has spoken to her…offering her a glimpse into His cup of living water… so that she may sip…He is not concerned with the laws of the world…He is concerned with the woman’s  spiritual life…her eternal life…Then, with His words, He reaches to the depth of her soul…and even though she is fighting Him every step of the way…she begins to believe…

When we look at Jesus’ words throughout the Gospels, this one in particular, we find He uses the words thirst and hunger many times. Even here, the woman and His disciples, have taken His words in the literal sense…But because we have the benefit of a knowledge that has been handed down through the generations…through the Apostolic teachings of the Church…We know that Christ’s thirst and hunger applied to His spiritual hunger and thirst…His intense desire that mankind turn away from their sinful ways and turn their hearts to the Heavenly Father. His desire was to do the Will of the One Who sent Him… to bring back the lost sheep into the fold

Because Jesus knew things about the woman that He could not have possibly known otherwise, she comes to believe that He is indeed a prophet…that He is indeed the Christ of Whom she has heard about…She drops her water jar…leaving it behind, and goes to tell others about her encounter with Jesus…about her encounter with the ‘Living Water’ of the Lord. Forgiven, she has been refreshed and cleansed by the Living Water of His Word…and rushes forth to share this News with others.

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