Rev. Mark Watson/Pastor
The Woman At The Well (John 4:1-30)
During the Third, Fourth and Fifth Sundays in Lent parishes often celebrate Scrutiny Rite with their catechumens. In the lives of the elect the Scrutinies are meant to bring about self-searching and repentance; to uncover and heal spiritual weakness and to strengthen all that is upright and good. Exorcisms are included in these rites “in order to deliver the elect from the power of sin and Satan, to protect them against temptation, and to give them strength in Christ…” (The Rites, Volume I, page 109). On these Sundays, the pastor has the option of using special readings from the Gospel of John. Since we are celebrating the First Scrutiny this Sunday we will hear the Gospel of The Women at the Well proclaimed.
In today’s Gospel Jesus journeys to the Samaritan town of Shechem and rests at the well that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. He chooses to pass through this area in order to bring the truth of who he is to the people of Samaria.
At noon, a woman comes to the well. Jesus says to her, “Give me a drink.” The woman is surprised that Jesus, a man, and a Jew, asks her for a drink. From a Jewish perspective, Samaritans do not truly worship God. Jesus states that if she knew who he was she would have asked him for living water.
THE GIFT OF FLOWING OR LIVING WATER
This gift of living water is the heavenly revelation that Jesus offers which leads to eternal life. The woman does not understand what he means. She is caught in her Jewish traditions and thus does not believe that Jesus is greater than her ancestor Jacob who once owned the well. She does not understand the meaning of “living water.” Therefore she asks for this living water so she will not have to keep coming to this well. Jesus then says to her that those who drink this living water will never thirst, as it will become a spring within him welling up to eternal life.
Jesus reveals to the woman that she has had five husbands and that the man with whom she is living is not really her husband. Since this is true the women’s understanding of Jesus begins to grow. She now believes that Jesus is a prophet.
Jesus wants to draw the woman into a deeper understanding of his person and role. Jesus tells the woman that the time is coming when authentic worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. True worship refers following God and making God a necessary part of one’s life. Jesus says that the hour is coming when people will worship him in “spirit and in truth.” By the end of the scene, she has reached a partial conditional belief in Jesus as she asks, “might this be the Messiah (John 4:29)?”
The woman goes into her town and tells the other villagers that she has met someone who has told her everything that she ever did. She brings the Good News of Jesus to the people of the town and they set out from the town to meet Jesus.
JESUS CONVERSES WITH THE SAMARITANS
After meeting Jesus the members of the village invite Jesus to stay with them. They become followers not because of the word of the woman but because of Jesus’ word. On the basis of hearing Jesus’ word, they state that Jesus is the savior of the world.
The Samaritans’ openness to the word of Jesus transforms them; they become examples of authentic belief. The Samaritan woman becomes the first missionary in John’s Gospel.
MEANING FOR US
This Gospel shows Jesus journeying to non-Jewish territory and bringing his saving message first to the woman at the well and then to the people of the town. The reading calls us to personally long for God’s revelation and to do the will of God in our lives. This revelation leads to eternal life. Jesus challenges his disciples to complete what he has begun. He also challenges us to bring his Good News to others.
How do we do this in our lives?
We should reflect Christ to others by the way we live out his truth. The way we live should reflect Christ to others. This includes our lives within our families, among our friends, and in our workplace. We should bring Christ’s truth especially to fallen away Catholics and to those who are Catholic in name only. We should always be ready to share our faith with others and especially to those who are going through challenging circumstances. Fr. Mark