‘The water that I will give,’ says the Lord, ‘will become in you a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ John 4:14
O God, the fountain of life,
to a humanity parched with thirst
you offer the living water that springs
from the Rock, our Saviour Jesus Christ:
stir up within your people the gift of your Spirit,
that we may profess our faith with freshness
and announce with joy the wonder of your love.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity
of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
- Exodus 17:1-7
- Psalm 95
- Romans 5:1-11
- John 4:5-42
- 1 Samuel 16:1-13
- Psalm 23
- Ephesians 5:8-14
- John 9:1-41
Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well: “…whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst, a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him because of the word of the woman who testified, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Christ?”
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. As a Samaritan, the woman is considered an outcast by the Jews; as a known adulteress, she is scorned by her own village. With kindness and dignity, Jesus reconciles her to God.
This Gospel has long had a special place in baptismal catechesis: 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. From Jacob’s well springs forth the living waters of the Messiah Christ.
The Samaritan woman is, for the evangelist John, a model of a disciple’s experience of faith: In a personal encounter with Jesus, she confronts her own sinfulness and need for forgiveness; she then comes to realize the depth of God’s love for her; reconciled with God, her life is transformed; she is then sent forth to share with others her “faith story” of what she has seen and heard of this Jesus.
Water is the predominant symbol in today’s readings: As water sustains life and cleans away the grime and filth that can diminish and destroy life, in the waters of baptism, the sins that alienate us from God are washed away and we are reborn in the Spirit of compassion and community.
All of us who have encountered Jesus are called to be reconcilers, not judges; we are called to lift people up, not drive them to their knees. In so many ordinary ways we can help one another realize new life and hope in Christ if we are willing to tear down the walls that divide us, to reach over the distances between us, to build bridges over chasms of mistrust and prejudice.
Easter transformation begins with a recognition of our sins and failings. As Jesus confronts the woman at the well with the reality of her own sinfulness and brokenness, we must confront our own sinfulness and, in doing so, realize our need for God. Sin is a reality in the lives of each one of us; but through Christ, forgiveness, reconciliation and rebirth, are just as real and possible. © Connections/MediaWorks
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