Third Sunday of Lent, 15th March

John 4:5-42 

Jesus came to a Samaritan city called Sychar,
near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well
was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was
about noon.


Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’.
(His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to
him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ (Jews do not share
things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of
God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink”, you would have
asked him, and he would have given you living water.’ The woman said to him,
‘Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living
water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with
his sons and his flocks drank from it?’ Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks
of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I
will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in
them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him,
‘Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming
here to draw water.’


said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come back.’ The woman answered him, ‘I
have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying, “I have no
husband”; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your
husband. What you have said is true!’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I see that
you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you say that
the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.’
Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, 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 know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is
coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in
spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is
spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ The woman
said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When he
comes, he will proclaim all things to us.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am he, the one
who is speaking to you.’


then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a
woman, but no one said, ‘What do you want?’ or, ‘Why are you speaking with
her?’ Then the woman left her water-jar and went back to the city. She said to
the people, ‘Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He
cannot be the Messiah, can he?’ They left the city and were on their way to him.


the disciples were urging him, ‘Rabbi, eat something.’ But he said to them, ‘I
have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples said to one
another, ‘Surely no one has brought him something to eat?’ Jesus said to them,
‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you
not say, “Four months more, then comes the harvest”? But I tell you, look
around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is
already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower
and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, “One sows and
another reaps.” I sent you to reap that for which you did not labour. Others
have laboured, and you have entered into their labour.’


Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He
told me everything I have ever done.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they
asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there for two days. And many more
believed because of his word. 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 Saviour of the world.’




It is apt to place the Gospel in Lenten season because
it is about conversion and growth.  It is
especially significant in the sense of conversion for preparing those who will
soon be received into the Holy
Church community on Holy
Saturday.  For those who were received
into the Church community, it is about growth in faith and spirituality.   


It must be stressed that whether it is conversion
or growth, it is Jesus who takes the lead in conversion and growth.  He is source of both events.  In other words, Jesus wishes to establish
relationship with us all regardless of the different stages of the pilgrimage
that we are in. 


At the beginning of today’s reading, we see a woman
who is content with her daily labour to draw water from the well.  Jesus wishes to inspire her to higher
desire.  So he decides to take a rest at
the well.  Note how Jesus takes the lead
to start the conversation by asking her to give him a drink.  If we can slow down and be still in our
ordinary living, we also can sense the presence of Jesus next to us and his
willingness to engage us in conversation with him, just like he does to the
Samaritan woman at the side of the well.


Through the conversation, Jesus invites her to look
for another kind of water that one once drinks it won’t be thirsty again.  Here, Jesus introduces her to another horizon
which was beyond her knowing.  Once she
knows about the existence of such water, she has the desire to find it.


Then, Jesus gradually shows her that he is the
Messiah through her knowing about her self. 
Spiritual journey begins with self-knowledge.  If we don’t know ourselves, we can never know
God.  That is why it is important for us
to revisit our salvation history regularly. 


As soon as the woman realizes that Jesus is the
Messiah, she shares the good news with her neighbours in her village.  We Christians should be like her to share our
salvation with others. 


At Lenten season, let us all drink this water that
satisfies our thirsty for ever through prayer, fasting and alms giving.  Amen.