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Friday, 10 March 2023 10:14

Come and drink

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
and 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. I see you are a prophet, sir. 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.’

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.’

(John 4:5-16, 19-26, 39-42)

Reflection - Come and drink

Last Sunday the Gospel of the Transfiguration completed the ‘little parable’ which begins Lent. The Gospels of the first two Sundays describe what Lent is about and what Christian life is about: a constant journey from temptation and doubt to transfiguration and faith; a journey away from allowing ourselves to be tempted to evil and towards allowing ourselves to be tempted to good by the action of God’s Holy Spirit within us.

The Gospels of the next three Sunday make clear that the Way from temptation to transfiguration is in and through Jesus Christ who is Living Water, Light and Life for the would-be disciple. They are three great stories from John about responding in faith:

  • The Woman at the Well – coming to faith despite barriers, personal history, differences of religious tradition, circumstances of life.
  • The Man Born Blind – Faith grows amidst all sorts of trials and the doubt of others.
  • The Raising of Lazarus – Faith tested by the ultimate: death.

The first of the three ‘great Gospels’ of Lent is ours this weekend: the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman.

The ground-work for the Gospel is laid in the first reading from Exodus. The people are thirsty, God gives them water even though they grumble against him and ‘put him to the test’.
From the story of Jesus’ encounter with the woman we might gather that faith comes through personal encounter with Jesus who offers us the living water of his Spirit. Jesus offers us his spirit in spite of all kinds of barriers, our personal history or circumstances and our often stubborn reluctance. Faith is a journey – it takes time to understand what is being offered and who is offering it. Some barriers about religion or religious practice need to be transcended to enter fully into faith which does not depend on cultic rituals. Faith makes us into missionaries, evangelists, proclaimers of Good News.

Water is a powerful symbol of life. You can last many days without food, but only a few without water. In our Christian tradition water is a strong symbol of the life of God which sustains us and brings our hearts to life. That is why we use it in Baptism and to bless objects and ourselves. The living water Jesus promises is his Spirit. A spirit which heals and transforms; which revels in the experience of God’s love and mercy; which cannot help but proclaim God’s goodness.

Our fresh encounter with the spirit of Christ this Lent heals and transforms us, and makes us into a “living gospel for all to hear”.

You can download and rint our prayers and readings for this Sunday here.

pdf Celebrating At Home 3rd Sunday in Lent [PDF] (5.48 MB)
default Celebrating At Home 3rd Sunday in Lent [ePub] (5.41 MB)

 

 

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