Third Sunday of Lent: John 4:5-15, 25-26, 39, 41-42*
5 In Samaria he came to a town named Sychar, which was not far from the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. 7 A Samaritan woman came to draw some water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink of water.” 8 (His disciples had gone into town to buy food.) 9 The woman answered, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan – so how can you ask me for a drink?” (Jews will not use the same cups and bowls that Samaritans use.) 10 Jesus answered, “If only you knew what God gives and who it is that is asking you for a drink, you would ask him, and he would give you life-giving water.” 11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you haven’t got a bucket, and the well is deep. Where would you get that life-giving water? 12 It was our ancestor Jacob who gave us this well; he and his sons and his flocks all drank from it. You don’t claim to be greater than Jacob, do you?” 13 Jesus answered, “All those who drink this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring which will provide him with life-giving water and give him eternal life.” 15 Sir,” the woman said, “give me that water! Then I will never be thirsty again, nor will I have to come here to draw water.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah will come, and when he comes, he will tell us everything.” 26 Jesus answered, “I am he, I who am talking with you.” 39 Many of the Samaritans in that town believed in Jesus because the woman had said … “He told me everything I have ever done.” 41 Many more believed because of his message, 42 and they said to the woman, “We believe now, not because of what you said, but because we ourselves have heard him, and we know that he really is the Saviour of the world.”
*The full reading is John 4:5-42; this is a shortened version. Other readings: Exodus 17:3-7; Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9; Romans 5:1-2, 5-8
Today we stand by the well as Jesus talks to a Samaritan woman. John is the only Gospel writer to tell us about this dramatic encounter.
The Jews took a very dim view of the Samaritans. At the time it wouldn’t have been culturally acceptable for a man to be alone with a woman unless they were married or related. So it was doubly unusual for Jesus to speak to this Samaritan woman alone.
Life for this woman has been tough and she is living with a man who is not her husband. Her previous husbands may have divorced her; it was easy, they just had to write a letter of divorce and the marriage was over.
But Jesus’s words touched her and his knowledge of her life struck home. She took up the offer of everlasting water instantly. And, unable to keep this amazing encounter to herself, she ran to tell others in the town to come and meet Jesus.
This woman had experienced a lot of rejection and judgment in her life. Jesus chooses to speak to her on her own. What does this reveal about his respect for her as an individual? What can we learn from this?
This woman would have been looked down upon in her community. Why do you think Jesus chose to reveal himself as the Messiah to her?
Make your own response to Jesus’s offer of life-giving water. In what ways can you invite others to meet Jesus?
Every time we pray we can have a personal conversation with Jesus just like this Samaritan woman. God loves you and cares for you, whatever your situation. Open your heart up to God in prayer now. The living water – the life that Jesus offers – is for you too.
Jesus met this woman at the well. Sit with a glass of water and as you sip it allow God to speak to you. Spend some time reflecting on the true worship that Jesus is looking for (verse 23).
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