3rd Sunday of Lent, Using Year A Readings for RCIA – Homily

Third Sunday of Lent, Year A (RCIA)
Exodus 17:3-7
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9 (8)
Romans 5:1-2, 5-8
John 4:5-42
March 7, 2021

Jesus is on the road through Samaria with his disciples.  While his disciples went into town to buy food, He stops to rest by Jacob’s well around noon.  There seems to be nothing special in this.

While He is there, “A woman of Samaria came to draw water.”  Again, this could be seen as ordinary.  The well is there to provide water.

Then things begin to unfold.  Jesus said to the woman, “Give me a drink.”  This might seem ordinary but it is not for He is a Jew and she is a Samaritan.  We must know, “Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.”  In fact, they despised each other.  In essence, Jews and Samaritans were racist towards one another.

Yet Jesus talked to her.  Racism is not okay.  Jesus knows all are God’s children.

And the Samaritan woman is willing to talk to him…perhaps she realizes God wants us to love everyone as our neighbor, regardless of race.

Of course, Jesus’ objective is not simply a cup of ordinary water.  He offers something much more, living water.

The woman takes Jesus’ words literally.  Why would she do otherwise?  They are standing by a well.  She questions how He would give her water when He doesn’t even have a bucket.

God provides the water we need. 

During the Exodus, the Israelites found themselves without (ordinary) water.  They “grumbled against Moses” who in turn “cried out to the Lord.”  That day God provided ordinary water in an extraordinary way.  God had Moses strike the rock and water flowed from it.

Jesus offers something more.  He tells the woman that “whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst.” 

The woman is clearly listening but she is still taking Jesus literally.  She thinks it would be wonderful to “never thirst” and never have to come to the well again.

Of course, Jesus is speaking of more than ordinary water.  He speaks of “living water” that wells up to eternal life.  He also knows the woman does not understand this.  He wants to help her move beyond the literal words to faith.

He begins this by speaking of her five husbands, something no ordinary person would know about her.  From this, she comes to see Jesus as a prophet.  She has taken a step towards faith in Jesus.

As she continues to listen to Jesus, she speaks of the coming Messiah who, “when he comes, he will tell us everything.”  In saying this, could she be beginning to realize that Jesus is the Messiah?

Jesus makes it clear.  When she speaks of the Messiah, He says, “I am he.

Their conversation is interrupted by the return of Jesus’ disciples.  They are surprised He is speaking to a woman but they say nothing.  They offer him food but He responds, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”  They are not different than the Samaritan woman was at the start of her conversation with Jesus.  They take his words literally.

The woman leaves and goes to town where she tells the people about Jesus, that He told her everything she had done and raising the question to them, “Could he possibly be the Christ?

From her words, “Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him.”  She had only begun to know Jesus herself but she did not let her limited knowledge stop her.  She shared what she knew.  Do you?

The townspeople will go on to meet Jesus for themselves, no longer believing only based on her word, but on Jesus own words to come to know that He is “truly the savior of the world.

Where are you in your journey of faith?

Is God just someone you have been taught about?

Or have you come to know Jesus for yourself?

Have you made your faith your own?

As children we learn about our faith from our parents, grandparents, godparents, priests, and catechists.  We memorize prayers and commandments.  We learn when to stand and kneel. 

As we make our faith persona, we come to find meaning in purpose in the prayers, commandments, and postures. 

The woman knew her faith as a Samaritan. In meeting Jesus, she came to a deeper faith.

Have you?

Have you shared the faith with others like she shared with the townspeople?

Who do you know that doesn’t come to church?  Who do you know that used to come to church but doesn’t now?  Is the Holy Spirit calling you to share faith with them?

Maybe it is speaking to someone who have never come to church.  Maybe it is speaking to someone who hasn’t come in a long time.  Maybe you could reach out to someone who is not coming during the Coronavirus.

Ask God what He wants you to do.

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