Eucharistic Readings for the 3rd Sunday of Lent: Year A
Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-11; John 4:5-42:
“They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.” (John 4:42)
This story in the Gospel of John about Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well is a curious one. It appears that they were the only two there. How did we get the dialogue that took place between them? Did Jesus take the time to share the step-by-step exchange between them to his returning disciples? I guess he did.
She comes to the well in the heat of the day, noon. She hates her life and responds to Jesus’ ability to never be thirsty again with the words, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” This tells us about her life as one abandoned by her community, one who probably has a history of being with many men, perhaps a husband thief. She is shunned by her neighbors. So, she makes her necessary trek to the well when she thinks no one is at the well. She can’t face them. This is where she meets God Incarnate.
Our Lord Jesus asks her for water. The Creator of water, asks this, also created woman, for what is already his. I am pondering that this was not a chance meeting. I am pondering that our Lord Jesus intentionally arranged this meeting, not just for her, but through her for the benefit of the community in which she lived. After her encounter she goes and faces down her community and proclaims “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” Yes my dear, He Is!
Jesus tells her, “God is spirit, and those who worship God must worship in spirit and truth.” After her encounter with our Lord Jesus, she goes and changes the lives of her village. They come and see just as Peter and John did when Mary Magdalene told of the Risen Lord. And to this they told her; They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.” How sad, if it had not been for her, they would never have met their Creator.
I am always amazed at the number of unnamed persons in the Bible who made a significant difference in the lives of the people of their community, and in our shared Biblical history. The unnamed woman at the well is like many of us today. Folks may not know our names, but we are still being sent out to tell the life-changing, and lifesaving story of our Lord Jesus, and how he has told us everything we have ever done. We don’t have her name, but she is Moses to the Israelites; she is Jonah to Nineveh; she is you to your community. Proclaim to those who shun you that your Lord Jesus has visited you, and made you well, at the well.
Please keep up your thoughts and prayers and hopes for Ukraine and Russia.
As we listen to what the Spirit of God is saying to us, let us live to love and serve, and to teach others to love and serve, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John