March 19, 2017: Third Sunday of Lent
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.” (John 4:1-15)
Jesus had broken all the rules of the social structure of the time by talking to a Samaritan woman. He entered into dialogue with her and cut though the prejudice of the day. Jews considered Samaritans outcast. God’s compassion and love replaced her fear. Jesus offered no stipulations about what had to be done or not done in order to receive the living waters of God’s grace. Only acceptance.
Take some time to reflect on an excerpt from the Prayer of Non-Violence by the Sisters of Providence:
Deliver us from the violence of superiority and disdain.
Grant us the desire, and the humility, to listen with special care to those whose experiences and attitudes are different from our own.