Gospel Reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Lent Year A – March 19th 2017
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.’ ‘Go and call your husband’ said Jesus to her ‘and come back here.’ The woman answered, ‘I have no husband’. He said to her, ‘You are right to say, “I have no husband”; for although you have had five, the one you have now is not your husband. You spoke the truth there.’ ‘I see you are a prophet, sir’ said the woman. ‘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.’
At this point his disciples returned, and were surprised to find him speaking to a woman, though none of them asked, ‘What do you want from her?’ or, ‘Why are you talking to her?’ The woman put down her water jar and hurried back to the town to tell the people. ‘Come and see a man who has told me everything I ever did; I wonder if he is the Christ?’ This brought people out of the town and they started walking towards him.
Meanwhile, the disciples were urging him, ‘Rabbi, do have something to eat; but he said, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about’. So the disciples asked one another, ‘Has someone been bringing him food?’ But Jesus said:
is to do the will of the one who sent me,
and to complete his work.
Have you not got a saying:
Four months and then the harvest?
Well, I tell you:
Look around you, look at the fields;
already they are white, ready for harvest!
Already the reaper is being paid his wages,
already he is bringing in the grain for eternal life,
and thus sower and reaper rejoice together.
For here the proverb holds good:
one sows, another reaps;
I sent you to reap
a harvest you had not worked for.
Others worked for it;
and you have come into the rewards of their trouble.’
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’.
At the end of the gospel story for this Sunday, the woman goes into town to tell everyone what the Lord has done for her. ‘He has told me all about myself, he has welcomed me, told me about himself.’, she might have said. There was a sharing of life-stories, and for the woman a great sense of being accepted, the foreigner in the town.
SHARING OUR FAITH STORY
Sharing our faith story and the story of our relationship with Jesus, and with the Divine, hits the heart. We can share truths about Jesus, or share about what the gospel might demand, but that will not lead to a change of heart in ourselves and those who hear us. Witness is what moves people. What each of us, and what we do reflects our faith-life. Sharing about our prayer, our love of God, our doubts and difficulties, move us.
Our young people are influenced by what they see of their elders in faith, not only by what we say. They can put up with weaknesses and faults, if people are sincere. As with Jesus and the woman, he did not expect perfection, but an open heart.
In prayer we get to know Jesus in our heart. We can read the gospel and see what sort of person he is. Like the popular prayer – ‘Heart of Jesus, make my heart like yours’.
The woman of Samaria was changed by her meeting with the Lord; her account of this would bring change to others. Often the people we least expect give us a new look on our faith.
Recall a person whose faith-story influenced you. Be grateful!
Lord, make my heart like your heart.
Donal Neary SJ
Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger
A good booklet for Lent – praying in the Ignatian tradition. On sale – €3.99, at www.messenger.ie , the Ignatian bookshop or elsewhere.