3rd Sunday of Lent, Year A
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
Romans 5:1-2, 5-8
March 19, 2017
The Israelites have just left slavery in Egypt. You might think they would be very thankful for being set free yet they are grumbling.
Now, they do have a real concern. They don’t have water to drink. Water is necessary for life so stating their need would be appropriate but “grumbling” indicates a lack of trust. They had previously said they needed food to eat and God provided the manna and the quail. God had set them from the Egyptians. Why did they not trust in God?
Moses cries out to God and God provided water in a way that only God can. He told Moses, “Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it.” There is no way for Moses to have done this on his own. God provided for his people.
Now, jump a head a number of centuries and we find Jesus at Jacob’s well in Samaria. He sees a Samaritan woman there and said to her “Give me a drink.”
She is surprised that He speaks to her. She recognizes him as a Jew and she is a Samaritan and the two peoples didn’t get alone. This was a centuries old conflict going back to the split between the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel.
Nonetheless, she continues the conversation with him.
Jesus then speaks to hear of “living water.” She is taking his comments about water literally. She says that Jesus doesn’t even have a bucket, there is no way He can give her water. He says that whoever drinks the water that He will “give will never thirst.”
She still thinks He is speaking of literal water but she wants some. How great it would be to never need to drink again.
Jesus then speaks to her about her “five husbands.” This is what begins to get her to open her eyes to something more, something deeper in Jesus.
She says she knows “that the Messiah is coming” to which Jesus identifies himself as the Messiah she awaits.
She is not sure whether to believe him or not. As disciples return, she goes into the town and tells people about Jesus. She isn’t sure what is going on but Jesus has stirred something in heart that leads her to share with others what she has learned about Jesus.
This leads them to go and see Jesus for themselves and to invite him to stay with them. Their belief in Jesus started because of what the Samaritan woman told them but, having listened to Jesus, they “began to believe in him because of his word” and they came to know “that this is truly the savior of the world.”
Two questions. First, how much do we know about Jesus? Secondly, do we share what we know?
Sometimes people think that once they are confirmed, they know everything, well maybe not everything, but they know what they need to know about Jesus.
However, when they are called to share our faith with others they will say they don’t know enough our faith to do that.
There’s a contradiction there, isn’t there? If we know what we need to, then we must know enough to share.
If we don’t know enough to be comfortable in sharing our faith, then we need to put some effort into learning more. I would say all of us, myself included need to put effort into learning more about our Catholic faith but that doesn’t mean we can’t share what we do know.
You see, at its core, sharing faith starts with about speaking of our experiences more so than sharing “knowledge.” We need the knowledge but our sharing should begin with what our faith means to us. Tell people what about our faith gets you to come to church. What do you like about being here?
Evangelization means both sharing our faith with others and growing in our own faith. The Samaritan woman does this as sh shared her personal experience of Jesus and that got the people to come. May we have the courage to do the same.