Third Sunday of Lent
Sunday, March 7, 2021
Reflection by Mary Parola
For the next three Sundays, we will be spending time with the Gospel readings from Year A, which are traditionally used whenever a community is preparing to welcome new Christians into the Catholic Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.
Jesus, resting at a well, meets a woman who has come to fill her bucket. He asks her for a drink.
She replies, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” She is incredulous because she knows the Jews consider her as a ritually impure woman, and he is forbidden by law to drink from anything she handles. Jesus says back 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” (John 4:10). As they continue their conversation, Jesus reveals that he knows about the woman’s past even though she has not told him. She says, “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ; when he comes, he will tell us everything” (John 4:25). Then Jesus replies, “I am he, the one speaking with you” (John 4:26).
Picture this intriguing, powerful conversation. Jesus did not rebuke her for her lifestyle, her sins. He knew; they both knew. He “told her everything.” Jesus met her just as she was and offered her so much more. She accepted that, I imagine, with such excitement and urgency that she returned to her townspeople and urged them to go see Jesus. The Gospel says that many came to believe because of her word and Jesus’s word.
Consider the transformation of this woman. She received the Spirit and she shared the truth with others. Their lives were changed because she changed hers. I must admit that I was extremely hesitant to participate in this Lenten reflection program—why me, what wisdom did I have? I realized however, that like the woman at the well, I was invited to look at my relationship with God; to seek greater understanding; and to meet God where I am, right here and right now, in all my sins and the troubles and hopes within my life and our world.
This Lent, I am hopeful that we can all meet Jesus where we’re at and know that we are loved. Forgiveness and hope are there as we move away from sin in our thoughts and actions and move forward in Spirit and truth. And we, too, can help others understand, be transformed, and become like this woman who received the living water and was no longer thirsty.
I hope that you may find peace and many blessings as you grow in faith and continue your Lenten journey.