Reflection on the Gospel of John 4:5-42, Third Sunday of Lent: March 12, 2023

The Gospel of John 4:5-42

Jesus came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.  A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that 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 have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never 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 him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no 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 see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, 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 know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these 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 Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” They left the city and were on their way to him.                                                 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest’? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”

Let us Pray: Loving Father, So many times I turn away from you and always you welcome me back. Your mercy and love gives me confidence, Thank you for the invitation to share, fast and pray so that you can form a new heart within me. Your powerful compassion for my weaknesses leads me to ask for mercy and await with great hope the Easter joy you share with us. This we pray in Your Name. Amen

The story of the woman at the well is a rich example of love, truth, redemption, and acceptance. And best of all, not only does Jesus accept her, but He accepts us, too. He wants us all in His holy kingdom, if only we, too, believe. How do you think we can relate to this in today’s world? Look around and we see many examples of where women are treated less than their men counterparts. That was so true in Biblical times women were usually considered not much more than property and slaves to do the bidding of their husband. It was startling that Jesus spoke to this woman considering that the Samaritans and Jews did not get along. But consider who Jesus is: He looked for every opportunity to mingle with the less than desirables and to break accepted protocol. So, what does this gospel tell us? It shows Jesus’ love for the world. The fact that the woman at the well was of low standing,  gender, race, and marital status,  yet they talked so directly, almost as equal conversational partners, shows Jesus’ heart for all people, not just some. it continually reminds us that only Jesus can offer salvation. Jesus offers living water and eternal life. This water is not like regular water but rather comes from God Almighty and lasts forever. It shows the importance of offering our testimony. When the woman believed, she immediately ran off to tell others. Her words made an impact. As Scripture tells us, “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony”. It reenforces to us that Jesus is the Messiah. He says He’s the Messiah, and the woman and the townspeople believe Him. As the Samaritans told the woman at the end of the story, “We know that this man really is the Savior of the world”. Finally, it reveals yet again how Jesus was rejected by His own people. That the woman was a Samaritan yet believed is probably not an extraneous fact but rather the point. The account of the woman at the well comes shortly after Jesus’ encounter in John 3 with the Pharisee Nicodemus, a race and class of people her total opposite. Just as the Samaritan woman did not fully understand who Jesus was at first, we also need Jesus to open our eyes to the reality of who He is. It is only in Jesus that we will be saved from our sins and made new in Christ. Jesus puts our sin and shame to death on the cross and calls us to walk with Him. HE gives us new desires and a new purpose, that will not be found in any earthly thing, but only in His kingdom. What does God want to tell us through this Gospel? God comes to meet us, even if we are  far away from Him; and at times He waits for us. God satisfies us even if we think that we don’t need him, and that we are self-sufficient. He invites us to conversion through our intimate encounter with Him. Christ gives us new life in abundance, in order to share it with others; and sends us on a mission to His People. The thing that stands in the way of people recognizing Jesus in John’s Gospel is their tendency to look only as deep as appearances, to stay at the literal level rather than go deeper with Jesus to the spiritual level. We are blind to those who are different than what we envision as normal. After her encounter with Jesus, the woman at the well goes to her neighbors and enthusiastically tells them about him. After reading and listening are we willing to talk about our faith with our friends and neighbors? If we aren’t able what makes it difficult to talk to our friends about Jesus? What do I fear? Why?

Let us Pray: Come, all who are thirsty says Jesus, our Lord, come, all who are weak, taste the living water that I shall give. Dip your hands in the stream, refresh body and soul, drink from it, depend on it, for this water will never run dry. Come, all who are thirsty says Jesus, our Lord. Amen.


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