3rd Sunday of Lent (A)
JESUS AND THE SAMARITAN WOMAN
“Lord, give me this water, that I may not thirst.”
- Summary of Ideas of the Sunday Readings
- Jesus has come to save what was lost. His death is meant to save the entire humanity.
- The conversion of the Samaritan woman brought forth the conversion of others.
Today’s Sunday readings present to us the spiritual symbol of water, its purifying and cleansing effect on the soul. In the 1st reading (Ex 17:3–7), the people of Israel in the desert, thirsty after their journey from Egypt fearing for their and their livestock’s lives, and doubting if the Lord is in their midst, complained and asked Moses for water. Moses, following God’s instructions, struck the rock –which symbolizes Christ, from whose heart will flow spirings of living water (Jn 7:38)– of Horeb with his staff and water flowed from it for the people to drink.
This event is an announcement of the water that will spring from the side of Christ after being lacerated by the soldier’s spear: a “living water” which Jesus described in today’s Gospel (Jn 4:5–42) which narrate his conversation with the Samaritan woman that “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.”
That “living water” is “the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” given to us in the Sacrament of Baptism with which we have received God’s grace, the remission of original sin, and have become children of God, saved by the “love that led Jesus Christ to die for us sinners” as we read in the 2nd reading (Rm 5:1–2, 5–8).
Jesus’ meeting with the Samaritan woman as described in the Gospel is not insignificant. It is well-known that the Jews and Samaritans avoided dealings with each other for centuries, most especially in food and drink for the latter’s adoption of 5 pagan male idols whom they worship as Baal.
The fact that Jesus asked the Samaritan woman to “Give me a drink” and the intimate dialogue which ensued thereafter manifests the universality of Our Lord’s salvific mission. The woman had a difficult marital life: she had 5 husbands, – a fact which she didn’t tell Jesus but He knew anyway, – which represent the five foreign tribes who intermarried with the northern Israelites (Samaritans) introduced five male deities into their religion (cf. 2 Kings 17:24-31), thereby making them unfaithful to the covenant with Yahweh and caused the animosity between them and the Jews. But Jesus was interested in all souls, especially those who are in most need of His mercy and salvation.
The Samaritan woman, representing all who have not received Christian Baptism, had all the traits which allow Christ’s grace to enter in one’s soul.
- She was ready to talk to Our Lord who was a Jew and this is the 1st step in her change of heart (v.9);
- She had interest in what Christ was saying : “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw (v.15).”
- She was sincere and truthful, further opened up her heart to him admitting that “I have no husband” (v. 17); and makes an act of faith: “I perceive that you are a prophet” (v. 19).
Her conversion to Christ is symbolized by the fact that she “left her water jar”, a symbol of pagan religion, after asking Jesus to give her the “living water” He was speaking earlier, “and went away into the city, and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?’ They went out of the city and were coming to him (vv. 28-30).”
Dear brethren in Christ, the conversion of one brought forth the conversion of many people:
“Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me all that I ever did.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world ‘ (Jn 7:39-42).”
As water is absolutely necessary for human life, much more is Christ’s living water, the baptismal grace, absolutely necessary for man’s salvation.
Let us through our daily struggle for conversion, our prayer, fidelity to Christ’s teachings and personal apostolate of friendship be instruments to bring souls to Christ so that their thirst for salvation may be quenched by the living water of Christ, his grace which provides eternal life.
A Blessed Sunday and week ahead!
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ORIGINAL PHOTO SOURCES: http://www http://www.wga.hu/art/g/guercino/1/samarita.jpg .artita.ru/dat/g/guercino/23.jpg http://images.metmuseum.org/CRDImages/ep/original/DP370887.jpg https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1a/Angelika_Kauffmann_-_Christus_und_die_Samariterin_am_Brunnen_-1796.jpeg/1280px-Angelika_Kauffmann_-_Christus_und_die_Samariterin_am_Brunnen_-1796.jpeg http://www.wga.hu/art/d/duccio/maesta/predel_v/pre_v_6.jpg