Third Sunday of Lent 2014
The Gospels for Year A during this Lenten Season have wonderful stories. This week’s of The Woman at the Well has many themes and we are invited to look at relationship:
- With God
- With ourselves
- With others
What does this story tell us of the kind of man that Jesus was?
- He was in touch with his own needs – he was tired and thirsty and probably sick of listening to his chattering disciples. He needed some quiet time.
- He chose to flaunt tradition in speaking to a Samaritan, who were known enemies of the Jews; in speaking to a woman, which in that culture in that time was simply not done – a man did not even speak to his wife in a public place, much less to a Samaritan.
- He was gentle in his approach to her. He did not condemn. By his questioning style he drew out her story. He accepted her for who she was. He gave her his undivided attention.
- He offers her living water and an opportunity to accept herself and to accept his teaching which would have been different from her own understanding.
What does the story tell us about the woman?
- She travelled alone. She was not included in the “woman-time” at the well. She was an outcast who came to the well at midday when because of the noonday heat it would probably be empty of those who often gossip about her?
- She was a “hurting” woman. For some reason or reasons the man with whom she lived was not her husband. According to John, he was also the fifth man with whom she had lived! She was fearful of touching into her pain – her sinfulness.
- She knew her religious history and was proud of being a Samaritan, yet she was willing to enter conversation with a Jew.
- She was generous. She wanted to share her new-found knowledge and experience with her neighbours.
What does the story tell us about the townspeople?
- They were accepting of the other in a way that was uncommon for their day.
- They wanted to “get in “on what was being offered.
- They too were able to see a woman as leader when the occasion presented itself and they wanted to hear Jesus’ wisdom.
What does it say to me about me?
- To the extent that I am ”the woman at the well” what would I wish to change about my life? What do I need to accept as part of who I am?
- When I meet the “woman at the well” in another person, what will I do? How will I treat her? Will I bring undivided attention to my conversations?
In similar situations where would I be found? How do I treat those who are different? . . . Those who are marginalized by society? . . . Those who are broken, poor, dirty, peculiar? . . . Am I conscious of the awful plight of those in our world who have no clean water – who like Jesus at the well are waiting for a drink!
As we relate, so shall we -- and the world -- become.
– Lois Greene, PBVM