Reflection on Readings of the Third Sunday of Lent (March 27, 2011) | James Pat Guerréro


[The writer wants to reflect on Holy Scripture during the Lenten season to help that special group of people who suffer from and fight the many serious forms of depression. Whenever the writer refers to man, he means men and women of human kind, no other.]

Exodus 17: 3-7. [RSV-CE]

Man predestines what he needs most – God’s love – but in the way of blaming God through Moses. The people in the “Wilderness of Sin,” said to Moses, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children, and our cattle with thirst?” Man as Moses, in a contentious way, even blames himself for his lack of his needs culminating in his thirst. Man unwittingly crafts his words in such a way that he demands proof, “Is the Lord among us or not?” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand the rod with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock of Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, that the people may drink.” Man as Moses struck God, there, “on the rock of Horeb.” Out of the rock came water so Man may drink. Man’s faultfinding and demanding proof on himself is also targeted on God. And Man’s thirsting ends in God’s water, which is God’s love. God’s thirsting is His ultimate desire for Man’s love.

Romans 5: 1-2, 5-8. [RSV-CE]

The helpless and sinning Man was not able to lift himself by his own bootstraps. The gift of faith by Abraham’s faith in God was also given to Man. Having already “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” Man has access to His grace and has rejoicing in the hope of sharing the glory of God. Because of God’s love, Man’s hope does not disappoint him. God loves Man, even if he is lost; and when Man is found, God rejoices.

John 4: 5-42. [RSV-CE]

Jacob’s well is in the city of Samar ‘ia, named Sy ‘char. Christ Jesus travels out of Judea for Galilee and stops to sit by this well. Although thirsty, Jesus waits for a woman of Samar ‘ia who comes to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” Jesus acknowledges His thirst for the love of Man. But instead the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samar ‘ia?” The first question of the Samaritan woman is full of knowledge and intelligence for she has a cynical and critical spirit; she knew that Jesus left Judea for Galilee and had to pass through Samar ‘ia, and “Jews have no dealings 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 second time Jesus gives new knowledge: after appealing to her love, He appeals to her highest form of intelligence, and with the greatest respect, He invites her to something even higher. The woman said to Him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?” The Samaritan woman persists with her peering intelligence by asking two more questions. At the same time the woman is perceiving within her a great thirst that she has never been able to quench. Jesus said to her, “Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Jesus perfects the invitation with the kind of water that quenches all thirst, that only comes from Jesus, and that will lead the Samaritan woman to eternal life with God. The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” At this point the Samaritan woman does see that there is something greater than this well where she comes to draw water – than her life that she lives. Then, Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The third time Jesus helps her life with more penetrating knowledge. The woman answered Him, “I have no husband.” Questioning no more, the Samaritan woman answers with the truth. Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and he whom you now have is not your husband; this you said truly.” Jesus transcends the cultural and legal problem of the day for she is still thirsty. The Samaritan woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Courageously, the Samaritan woman takes one more step: an attempt to understand better the living water. Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The Samaritan woman fully applied her intellect and will and said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ); when he comes, he will show us all things.” The Samaritan woman is ready, but it is not until Christ said, “I who speak to you am he,” that He shows all things to her. The Samaritan woman left her water jar and went into the city and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” Many Samaritans heard Christ’s words directly and believed in Him. They invited Him to stay with them. Jesus stayed with them two days. They said 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 Savior of the world.” The Samaritans worshiped God in spirit and in truth.

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