March 15, 2020
The Third Sunday of Lent (Year A)
Readings for Today
“Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Christ?” John 4:29
This is the story of a woman who encountered Jesus at the well. She comes to the well in the middle of the noonday heat so as to avoid the other women of her town for fear of encountering their judgment upon her, for she was a sinful woman. At the well she encounters Jesus. Jesus speaks with her for a while and she is deeply touched by this casual but transforming conversation.
The first thing to note is that the very fact of Jesus speaking to her touched her. She was a Samaritan woman and Jesus was a Jewish man. Jewish men did not speak to Samaritan women. But there was something more that Jesus said that deeply affected her. As the woman herself tells us, He “told me everything I have done.”
She wasn’t only impressed that Jesus knew all about her past as if He were a mind reader or magician. There is more to this encounter than the simple fact that Jesus told her all about her past sins. What truly seemed to touch her was that within the context of Jesus knowing all about her, all the sins of her past life and her broken relationships, He still treated her with the greatest respect and dignity. This was a new experience for her!
We can be certain that she would have daily experienced a sort of community shame. The way she lived in the past and the way she was living at the present was not an acceptable lifestyle. And she felt the shame of it which, as mentioned above, was the reason she came to the well in the middle of the day. She was avoiding others.
But here was Jesus. He knew all about her but wanted to give her Living Water nonetheless. He wanted to satiate the thirst that she was feeling in her soul. As He spoke to her, and as she experienced His gentleness and acceptance, that thirst began to be quenched. It began to be quenched because what she really needed, what we all need, is this perfect love and acceptance that Jesus offers. He offered it to her, and He offers it to us.
Interestingly, the woman went away and “left her water jar” by the well. She never actually got the water she came for. Or did she? Symbolically, this act of leaving the water jar at the well is a sign that her thirst was quenched by this encounter with Jesus. She was no longer thirsty, at least spiritually speaking. Jesus, the Living Water, satiated.
Reflect, today, upon the undeniable thirst that is within you. Once you are aware of it, make the conscious choice to let Jesus satiate it with Living Water. If you do this, you too will leave the many “jars” behind that never satisfy for very long.
Lord, You are the Living Water that my soul needs. May I meet You in the heat of my day, in the trials of life, and in my shame and guilt. May I encounter Your love, gentleness and acceptance in these moments, and may that Love become the source of my new life in You. Jesus, I trust in You.