March 15, 2020: Third Sunday of Lent
Reading: John 4:5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42
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 well is deep; where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this well 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.”
“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 Anointed; when he comes, he will tell us everything.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking with you.”
Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him. 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.”
Deep, lasting friendships, special relationships and falling in love all require going deeper. They require nurturing. They require effort. Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well is not superficial. Theirs is a continual exchange during which she comes to recognize him as a prophet and he eventually reveals to her that he is the one to come, the Messiah, the Anointed. She shares that with her neighbors and, after Jesus stays in the town, the people come to believe it themselves and not just because she has told them so.
We cannot have a true and deep relationship with God if it is only a superficial one — a “Sunday go to meeting” one. It must become part of our very being and must be a lived one. Hearing God’s word is only the beginning. One must live those words. Put them into action. They must reflect in everything we do.
The almsgiving of our Lenten practice is a way of doing God’s work. But personally involving ourselves is living our relationship with God. Life is busy and family life is even busier. This week try to involve the entire family in an activity that helps those less fortunate. Help serve a meal at a soup kitchen or distribute food at a food bank. Offer to do yard work or make simple repairs for an elderly person. The ideas and opportunities are numerous and available in every community.