3rd Sunday of LENT (Year A). (March 12, 2023): Ex 17:3-7; Rom 5:1-2, 5-8; Jn 4:5-42.
“The Divine touch and conversion”.
Today’s readings which make use of the symbol of water to refer to our relationship with God, are centered on Baptism and new life. Baptism is the outward, symbolic sign of a deep Reality, the coming of God as a Spiritual Force penetrating every aspect of a person’s life. The Holy Spirit quenches our spiritual thirst. Hence just as water in the desert was life-giving for the wandering Israelites, the water of a true, loving relationship with Jesus is life-giving for those who accept him as Lord and Savior. And so, we are assembled here today in the Church to share in this water of eternal life and salvation. Scripture readings summarized: The 1st reading describes how God provided water to the ungrateful complainers of Israel, thus placing Jesus’ promise within the context of the Exodus account of water coming from the rock at Horeb. The Resp. Psalm (Ps 95) refers both to the Rock of our salvation and also to our hardened hearts. It reminds us that our hard hearts need to be softened by God through our grace-prompted and -assisted prayer, fasting and works of mercy which enable us to receive the living water of the Holy Spirit, salvation, and eternal life from the Rock of our salvation. In the Gospel, an unclean, ostracized Samaritan woman is given an opportunity to receive living water, through which Jesus also poured the living water of the gift of the Holy Spirit into our hearts.
Life Message: So, today's Gospel tells us how Jesus awakened in the woman at Jacob’s well in Sychar, a thirst for the wholeness and integrity which she had lost, a thirst which He had come to satisfy. In revealing himself as the Messiah to the Samaritan woman, Jesus speaks to her of the fountain of water he will give — the life-giving waters of Baptism. Significantly, the water that Jesus promises is closely linked to conversion and the forgiveness of sin. Here is a woman who comes to Faith and becomes a missionary who brings others to Jesus. Moreover, Jesus recognizes the gifts and ministries of women in his future Church. Consequently, through her, the Samaritans, who were considered godless in general in this town, ended up confessing Jesus as the Savior of “the world.”
Conclusion: This Gospel passage gives us Jesus' revelation about Himself as the Source of Living Water and teaches us that we need the grace of Jesus Christ for eternal life, because He is that life-giving water. Therefore, Jesus’ meeting the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well illustrates the principal role of Jesus as the Messiah: to reconcile all men and women to the Father. Once converted, this outcast woman became an evangelist, enthusiastically introducing Jesus to her fellow villagers. In other words, just as Jesus confronted the woman at the well with the reality of her own sinfulness and brokenness, so we must, with God’s grace, confront our own sinfulness and, in doing so, realize our need for God. The Holy Spirit of God, the Word of God, and the Sacraments of God in the Church are the primary sources for the living water of Divine Grace. Washed in it at Baptism, renewed by its abundance at each Eucharist, invited to it in every proclamation of the Word, and daily empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are challenged by today’s Gospel to remain thirsty for the living water which only God can give.