3rd Sunday of Lent - Cycle A
“The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?’ – For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.” (John 4:9)
The Samaritan woman in today’s Gospel mirrors our own interactions with Jesus in a process of conversation and conversion. At first, she wrestles with Jesus’ comment on living water, even deriding him by saying, “Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the well is deep; where then can you get this living water?”
As the conversation develops, the woman concedes that Jesus is a prophet. Jesus unveils her past. When she recognizes his authority as a prophet, she begins to speak to him about the proper worship of God. As Jesus describes that there will be worship of God in Spirit in truth rather than a specific place, the woman speaks of the Messiah who will tell them everything.
When Jesus reveals that he is the Messiah, the woman leaves to go into the town to proclaim Jesus to the people. She even leaves behind her water jar signifying that she has left behind previous needs and desires. No longer does she need water, which was her sole task before meeting Jesus, but she needs to tell others about Christ instead.
Meanwhile, Jesus’ disciples return and tell Jesus to eat. He declines and says that his food “is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work.” The work and harvest that Jesus alludes to is the Samaritans so that they might have eternal life. In this moment, the Samaritan woman, by proclaiming Christ, is acting more like a disciple of Jesus than the disciples themselves! As a result of her reaping, many Samaritans believed in him and collectively came to the realization that this man “is truly the savior of the world.”
A personal conversation with Jesus brings about a town’s conversion. Jesus welcomes all conversations with him, even if it is questioning, harsh, or disbelieving. If we go to Christ in honest prayer, he will transform us every time by quenching our thirst with living water, himself.