The Chosen, Episode 8 scene, The Woman at the Well

Third Sunday of LENT (cycle a)

The conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the Well is detailed in the Gospel of John, and is used in the Mass readings for Sunday of the third week in Lent (cycle A).
Here, we encounter this story, and a reflection written by St. Augustine in the early 5th Century. St. Augustine reflects on the famous conversation. He sees the woman, who came to draw water from the well, as a symbol for the Gentiles who are called to conversion and faith and who are promised the gift of the Holy Spirit in abundance.

Lectio Divina

In Catholicism, Lectio Divina (from the Latin for Holy Reading) is a traditional monastic practice of scriptural reading, meditation, and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God's word.  For the practitioner, it follows a common rhythm of quiet reading (often aloud to oneself), of thoughtful meditation and contemplation on what one has read, and then, if so moved, of a prayerful dialogue with God in response to what one has encountered in scripture.  This reflective, meditative,  active listening, if you will, allows the Holy Spirit to deepen one's awareness of God's presence and invites His initiative to speak with us.

LISTEN: The water that I shall give will become a spring of eternal life.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 4:5-42

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. 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.—Jesus answered and said to 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.” The woman said to him, “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, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Jesus said to her, “Go call your husband and come back.” The woman answered and said to him, “I do not have a husband.” Jesus answered her, “You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’ For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.” 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 (who is) speaking with you.”

At that moment his disciples returned, and were amazed that he was talking with a woman, but still no one said, “What are you looking for?” or “Why are you talking with her?” The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, “Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Christ?” They went out of the town and came to him. Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” So the disciples said to one another, “Could someone have brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here’? I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest. The reaper is already receiving payment and gathering crops for eternal life, so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together. For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap what you have not worked for; others have done the work, and you are sharing the fruits of their work.”

Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me everything I have done.” When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. Many more began to believe in him because of his word, and they said to 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.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

CONSIDER:  For when he asked the Samaritan woman for water to drink, he had already created the gift of faith within her and so ardently did he thirst for her faith, that he kindled in her the fire of divine love.

Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well (1639), Jacob van Oost, the Younger

A Samaritan woman came to draw water

From a treatise on John by Saint Augustine

A woman came. She is a symbol of the Church not yet made righteous. Righteousness follows from the conversation. She came in ignorance, she found Christ, and he enters into conversation with her. Let us see what it is about, let us see why a Samaritan woman came to draw water. The Samaritans did not form part of the Jewish people: they were foreigners. The fact that she came from a foreign people is part of the symbolic meaning, for she is a symbol of the Church. The Church was to come from the Gentiles, of a different race from the Jews.
     We must then recognise ourselves in her words and in her person, and with her give our own thanks to God. She was a symbol, not the reality; she foreshadowed the reality, and the reality came to be. She found faith in Christ, who was using her as a symbol to teach us what was to come. She came then to draw water. She had simply come to draw water; in the normal way of man or woman.
     Jesus says to her: Give me water to drink. For his disciples had gone to the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman therefore says to him: How is it that you, though a Jew, ask me for water to drink, though I am a Samaritan woman? For Jews have nothing to do with Samaritans.
     The Samaritans were foreigners; Jews never used their utensils. The woman was carrying a pail for drawing water. She was astonished that a Jew should ask her for a drink of water, a thing that Jews would not do. But the one who was asking for a drink of water was thirsting for her faith.
     Listen now and learn who it is that asks for a drink. Jesus answered her and said: If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink,” perhaps you might have asked him and he would have given you living water.
     He asks for a drink, and he promises a drink. He is in need, as one hoping to receive, yet he is rich, as one about to satisfy the thirst of others. He says: If you knew the gift of God. The gift of God is the Holy Spirit. But he is still using veiled language as he speaks to the woman and gradually enters into her heart. Or is he already teaching her? What could be more gentle and kind than the encouragement he gives? If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink,” perhaps you might ask and he would give you living water.
     What is this water that he will give if not the water spoken of in Scripture: With you is the fountain of life? How can those feel thirst who will drink deeply from the abundance in your house?
     He was promising the Holy Spirit in satisfying abundance. She did not yet understand. In her failure to grasp his meaning, what was her reply? The woman says to him: Master, give me this drink, so that I may feel no thirst or come here to draw water. Her need forced her to this labour, her weakness shrank from it. If only she could hear those words: Come to me, all who labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Jesus was saying this to her, so that her labours might be at an end; but she was not yet able to understand.
Credit: Divine Office: Office of Readings; March 7, 2021; https://divineoffice.org/welcome/

Information herein posted under the "rules of fair use" to foster education and discussion in accordance with Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976.

PRAYER

Let us pray.

Jesus, as you hung on your cross, the instrument of salvation for the world, you said, "I thirst."

You draw all people to yourself, Lord;
You are the life-giving wellspring;
You quench the thirst of all who desire to drink from the fount of eternal life.

Let us draw from your well, Lord;
Help us to satiate the cravings that the world cannot satisfy.

Like the Samaritan woman at the well, help us to know only in you, Jesus, can we find what we're looking for.

I thirst for you.

Amen.

Author, Reason2bCatholic

23C6C310-662D-4EDE-9632-E335A89A8DC3

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Be not afraid!  And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always.  Holy Family, pray for us.  Amen.

The Holy Family, Murillo
The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities (c. 1675-82) by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617 – 1682)

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