3rd Sunday of Lent Year A - 15/3/2020 - Gospel: Ga 4, 5-15. 19b-26. 39a. 40-42
Everlasting water
Drawing water from a well is hard work, and carrying it up hill, under the heat, is even more challenging. A village well is a hub of information. News from all over the place came in and out would be shared by people, who came to draw water. A Samaritan woman came to draw water at noon to avoid the crowd. She expected a quiet time, but to her surprise, Jesus was there. By asking the woman for water to drink, Jesus demonstrated his rejection of Judaism's customs and male superiority, that it was improper for a man to talk to a woman in public; worse even, when a man asked for hospitality from a woman. Jews certainly would have nothing to do with the gentiles. The dialogue between Jesus and the woman had three phases. It began about the thirst for natural water, and it went deeper for her to open up her past life, and ended up with her having faith in Jesus. Water is necessary to sustain life, but it will not satisfy one's heart. Our hearts thirst for true love and everlasting peace. God alone can satisfy that thirst. Jesus employed the symbolic language- living water- to talk about the need of a human heart. Jesus initiated the conversation by asking the Samaritan for a drink. What? A man asked a woman for a drink. Jesus went on to say, if she knew who he was, it would be her asking him for water, not him asking her, and he would give her the everlasting water. The woman was more curious to understand Jesus, and wondered how could Jesus, without a bucket, draw water from the deep well? We humans love to make claims of possession; the woman claimed that Jacob gave her people the well. Jesus agreed: Yes, the well is yours; but God (I) provide the water. She had her faith in Jacob, Jesus helped her to open it up. He told her that it was not the place, but who and how one worshipped that was important: 'true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth'. Jesus invited the woman to look deep into her life by telling her, 'Go and call your husband and come back'. Seeing that Jesus was able to reveal the secrets of her past, she believed Jesus was a prophet. The dialogue moved from physical water to spiritual water. Jesus talked to her about true worship. She responded that when the Messiah comes, he will teach them to worship in spirit and truth. Jesus revealed his identity to her, by telling her, that He actually is the Messiah. Jesus' apostles returned from the market, and the conversation came to an abrupt end. The village well is the centre of information exchange. Not realizing that she became a missionary for Jesus, the woman rushed back to her village, telling others about Jesus, and inviting them to meet the man, whom she suspected was the Messiah, because he was able to reveal her past life. The woman was well known for her way of life, and her villagers would doubt the truthfulness of her word. Surprisingly they believed her, and came to meet Jesus. Later on her villagers told her, they believed in Jesus not because of her story, but because they themselves had heard him, and had come to believe, that He is the Messiah, thus validating her words. We don't know her name, but we do know that her faith came via dialogue with Jesus, and she made a change of heart. For her, having faith in Jesus was not about having all the answers, but God's love satisfied her heart. She listened and believed in Jesus, and she was satisfied. For her having faith in Jesus was enough, and she would need no other source of wisdom.