Third Sunday of Lent Year A(19 March 2017)

Exod 17:3-7; Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7abc, 7d-9 (R.v.7d, 8a); Rom 5:1-2, 5-8; John 4:5-42

Gods love for us is an unconditional love. He does not consider our status or our righteousness before visiting us. In fact, it would seem that it is when we are more into sin that he visits us the more. That is a confirmation of what Jesus said in his mission statement, I did not come to call the righteous but sinners (Matt 9:13) though that should not be misconceived as a licence to dwell in sin.

This fact of Gods compassion upon sinners and his desire to draw them to himself is evident in the three readings of today, while the Responsorial Psalm encourages us not to close the doors of our heart against Gods salvific invitation.

In the First Reading, God provided water to the thirsty Israelites through Moses despite the fact that they murmured against him and his servant, Moses, even after the wonders God did in their presence in a bid to bring them out of Egypt. In the Gospel, Jesus, the new Moses chose to give the living water to the Samaritan woman. He had to surmount a number of obstacles to do this:
????The Jews and the Samaritans are bitter enemies (cf. John 4:9), which is mostly a consequence of pride the holier-than-thou attitude of the Jews;
????Jews do not have much regard for women. So it appears as a degradation of his status as a man, for Jesus to have done this;
????This woman was a sinner and Jesus should have known;
????This woman responded to Jesus in a sarcastic manner, How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria? (John 4:9) That did not equally put Jesus off.

Surmounting all these, Jesus gradually led the woman to see her need of the water of life. This is an example of an unmerited love, which is what St. Paul reported in the Second Reading, God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners christ died for us (Rom 5:8).

“Give me a drink” (John 4:7). What exactly is Jesus asking of from this woman of Samaria? The Gospel of John has the character of having statements with dual meanings. So we cannot really limit the meaning of this demand to one thing. It is possible he actually needed drinking water, after all his disciples had just gone to buy food (John 4:8). But many things point out the fact that Jesus needed more mere drink. Notice that most of the previous meetings between men and women at the well side resulted into marriage (see Gen 24:17; 29:9-11; Exod 2:15-17). Could it then be that Jesus was seeking marriage from this. I dare to say YES! But this marriage is that of faith that introduced the woman into the family ofJesus – family of God’s people.

So by demanding for a drink, Jesus was demanding from the woman, faith in him. Nobody can really have that faith except it is given to him; it is a gift (see John 4:10; Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6). He equally wants to give us such faith to enable us come back to him.

Let us learn from the attitude of this Samaritan woman while we embark on our comeback mission; she “left her jar of water” (John 4:28) and went to witness for Christ. She has gotten the living water and then let go of the temporal water. In other words, she left her past to embrace joyfully her future.

The attitude of the Samaritan woman is characteristic of the Gospel of St John. Everyone who encounters Jesus wants more of him and equally moves ahead to invite others to have a share of him (see John 1:39-42, 44-46), and Jesus is always available and enough to all. That is a life of witnessing.
Through that encounter with the Samaritan woman, Jesus was able to bring us to an understanding of what the living water is. This living water is the Word of God, which is Jesus himself (cf. John 1:1-18). After the Samaritan woman had drank of the fountain of this Living Water, she called others to drink as well (cf. John 4:39-40) and they were satisfied as well.

Can you be brave enough to be another Moses or the Samaritan woman to take this fountain of life to others who are wallowing in sin? Imagine the happiness in heaven when the Samaritans confessed 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 (John 4:42).

Have you been able to get this drink from Jesus? Were you able to leave behind your temporal drink? Do not be like the Israelites who would throw away their drink (faith) when confronted with little difficulties. Jesus is ever ready to satisfy your thirst because he is the fountain source. Come to him and drink.

I wish a thirst-quenching Sunday with Jesus. Peace be with you.

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