Tuesday, March 14, 2017

March 19, 2017 - The Samaritan Woman

The Third Sunday of Lent - Year A

Reading I:  EX 17: 3-7
Responsorial:  Psalm 95
ReadingII:  ROM 5:1-2, 5-6
Gospel:  JN 4: 5-42

In today’s readings, we see Jesus, at Jacob’s Well, in Sychar, a town in Samaria. He is tired and very thirsty. Jesus sees a Samaritan woman drawing water, so He asks her a favor. He asks for a drink of water.

How surprised she must have been! At that time and place, men did not speak with women publically. Like children, they were to be “seen but not heard.” Also, He was a Jew, and she was a Samaritan. Jews usually looked down on Samaritans because of mixed heritage and some of their religious traditions. Nevertheless, she felt the power of His acceptance and His love.
Jesus looks deep into the heart of the Samaritan woman. He knows all about her. He sensitively asks her for a favor. Would she give him some water? He engages her in a conversation in which He lets her know that He is aware of her having had five husbands, and that the one she is currently with is not her husband. Yet, he recognizes the basic goodness in the woman.

He tells her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.” Puzzled, she responds, “Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep: where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob...?”

Jesus explains that those who drink the water from Jacob’s Well will be thirsty again, but those who drink of His living water will never thirst again. The grace represented by the water will sustain them and lead them to eternal life. The woman then begs Jesus to give her a drink.

When the woman shared with others that Jesus knew all about her and that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, many came to believe in him. They invited Jesus to stay with them and He spoke with them himself. As a result, the converts told the woman “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”

This passage reminds me of the importance of asking the Lord to help us to deepen our relationships with Him by taking the time to be with Him and to open our hearts to receive the living waters of His grace. It also reminds me that when sharing about the Lord, it is important to pray with and for others, so that they will be open to receive His love and His grace.

Sometimes, we Catholics are shy about doing this. We tend to pray for others, but hesitate to pray over and with them. Lent might be a time to move out of our comfort zone and pray for and with someone who needs or asks our prayers.

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...

La mujer samaritana

En las lecturas de hoy, vemos a Jesús, en el Pozo de Jacob, en Sicar, una ciudad en Samaria. Está cansado y muy sediento. Jesús ve a una mujer samaritana sacando agua, así que le pide un favor. Pide una copa de agua.

¡Qué sorpresa debe haber estado! En ese momento y lugar, los hombres no hablaban públicamente con las mujeres. Como niños, ellos debían ser “vistos pero no escuchados”. También era judío, y ella era samaritana. Los judíos generalmente mirasen a los samaritanos por su herencia mixta y algunas de sus tradiciones religiosas. Sin embargo, sintió el poder de Su aceptación y Su amor.

Jesús mira profundamente el corazón de la mujer samaritana. Él sabe todo sobre ella. Él le pide un favor sensiblemente. ¿Le daría un poco de agua? Él la involucra en una conversación en la cual Él le hace saber que Él es consciente de que ella tuvo cinco esposos, y que la que ella está actualmente no es su marido. Sin embargo, él reconoce la bondad básica en la mujer.

Él le dice: “Si supieras el don de Dios y te está diciendo: ‘Dame un trago,’ le hubieras preguntado y Él te habría dado agua viva.” Confundida, ella responde: “Señor, tú Ni siquiera tienen un cubo y la cisterna es profunda: ¿de dónde sacaréis esta agua viva? ¿Eres mayor que nuestro padre Jacob ...?”

Jesús explica que aquellos que beben el agua del pozo de Jacob estarán sedientos otra vez, pero los que beben de Su agua viva nunca tendrán sed otra vez. La gracia representada por el agua los sostendrá y los llevará a la vida eterna. Entonces la mujer ruega a Jesús que le dé de beber.

Cuando la mujer compartió con otros que Jesús sabía todo sobre ella y que Jesús afirmó ser el Mesías, muchos vinieron a creer en él. Ellos invitaron a Jesús a quedarse con ellos y Él mismo habló con ellos. Como resultado, los conversos le dijeron a la mujer: “Ya no creemos por tu palabra; Porque hemos oído por nosotros mismos, y sabemos que este es verdaderamente el salvador del mundo.”

Este pasaje me recuerda la importancia de pedir al Señor que nos ayude a profundizar nuestras relaciones con Él tomando el tiempo para estar con Él y abrir nuestros corazones para recibir las aguas vivas de Su gracia. También me recuerda que al compartir sobre el Señor, es importante orar con y por los demás, para que estén abiertos a recibir Su amor y Su gracia.

A veces, los católicos somos tímidos al hacer esto. Tendemos a orar por los demás, pero dudamos en orar más y con ellos. La Cuaresma puede ser un tiempo para salir de nuestra zona de confort y orar por y con alguien que necesita o pide nuestras oraciones.

1 comment:

  1. The story of The Woman at the Well holds significant meaning for me because I, too, am that woman. Perhaps she is unnamed because she represents many of us who long for truth, validation, acceptance – who thirst for more.
    The well, for the women who drew their water from it, could be likened to the water cooler at the office. It was a gathering place where they would chat and catch up with one another’s lives while performing one of their daily tasks. The climate was very hot so most of the women would go early morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat of the day. The woman in the gospel story, however, goes at high noon when the temperature is the highest. Trust me, she is not trying to sweat off a few pounds, she is intentionally avoiding the other women out of shame.
    Little did she know that her entire life would change on the day she met Jesus at the well. Jesus was tired from traveling and he was thirsty. His simple request, “will you give me a drink” stirred up all sorts of sarcastic judgements from her – you’re a man, a Jew – I’m a Samaritan woman – How can you ask me for a drink?
    Their conversation shifts as Jesus gently guides her through stages of deeper revelation of Who he is. Jesus invites the woman to explore her dryness and to acknowledge her thirst. He leads her to awareness of the deep well of life within her. Her suspicion of Jesus evolves into trust. Imagine how she must have felt in His Presence once she surrendered her resistance. It was probably the first time in many years that she felt valued and respected.
    In that space she was able to confront that she was currently living in sin – perhaps she understood that, up until this moment, she had been trying to satisfy her inner thirst by external means – it sounds as though she freely entered into relationships without taking the time to process what she was truly yearning for. I tried to fill my insatiable interior thirst with superficial relationships only to find that it led to even deeper discontent. I have since come to know that such depth of satisfaction and fulfilment comes only through a relationship with God. The woman at the well comes to recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
    Once she experienced the gift of God’s grace through her encounter with Christ she left her water jar and went into town to urge her neighbors – the very ones who shunned her – “Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Christ?” Because of her testimony many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in Jesus.
    My guess would have it that she soon rejoined her community as a respected member. She most likely ended her living arrangement with the man, and that the conversations at the well were filled with tales of conversion and hope. Once the woman opened herself to receiving grace she no longer thirsted. Her fear, shame and humiliation went away once she confronted her sin and embraced the Light of Christ. On that day she embarked on a new path of life leading to wholeness and aliveness.
    When we find ourselves feeling discontent, restless, stressed out, empty, searching for comfort…let us remember to turn within and enter into communion with Christ. Jesus is the Living Water waiting to quench out thirsts.