“Come and see a Man …”
Reflections on the readings for the Third Sunday of Lent (March 15, 2020): EX 17:3-7; PS 95:1-2,6-7,8-9; ROM 5:1-2,5-8; JN 4:5-42
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Recognizing Jesus as a true man of God is the focus of the Gospel on this Third Sunday of Lent.
The story of Christ’s meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well reveals God’s love for His people, including those whom others consider the least worthy of notice. The fact that a tired, thirsty Jesus speaks to this stranger at all would have shocked her. Jews looked down on anyone from Samaria because, while they had once shared the same heritage, over the years Samaritans had taken on customs and religious observances at odds with them. More than that, it was not permitted for a Jewish man to speak with a woman he did not know. So when Jesus asked her for a drink of water, He was breaking two common taboos. Yet the two have a real conversation. And our Lord immediately directs her attention from the water in the well to the living water that only He can offer and that does heals and revitalizes the soul – even to life eternal. When Christ asks her about herself, she does not want to admit her sinful life. But He already knows her poor, unfulfilling choices have estranged her from her own community.
Recognizing Jesus as a true man of God, “the woman said to Him, ‘I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ; when He comes, He will tell us everything.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am He, the one speaking with you’” (John 4:25-26). So this foreign stranger, this woman whose name we never learn, hears our Lord confirm that He is indeed, the long-awaited Messiah. She leaves her water jar behind as she hurries to town and urge her neighbors to come back and see Christ for themselves. In some way, she understands and wants them to know that the living water that He offers is meant for all to receive willingly for their own true welfare. During Lent, those preparing for Baptism are also learning about life-giving water that will quench the thirst of their souls. We can join them in scrutinizing ourselves and contemplating our relationship with Christ. It is our Savior who pours Himself out as a sacrifice for those who open themselves up to His generous mercy.