Fr Thomas’ Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Lent

Life Giving Jesus

A woman in Samaria happened to meet with Jesus at a well she went to fetch water from.   She asked Jesus a question:  “Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, while you say that Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship”, Jesus’ answer was “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem…when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth: that is the kind of worshipper the Father wants.  God is spirit, and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth.” (Ref John 4:21-24).   It is no more the mountains that matters for worship, but a personal or spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “You have had five husbands, and the one who is with you now is not your husband” (Ref John 4:18).  First half of John’s Gospel, especially, is meant to be read as symbolic narrative vindicating Jesus as the Christ / Messiah.  A number of references in the Gospel confirms it (John 2:11; 4:54; 5:2; 6:14; 9:16).  The narrative about the Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus at Jacob’s well is after the pattern of Jacob meeting Rachel at the same well (Genesis 29).   Here the woman represents the people of Samaria and “Five husbands” is an allegorical reference to its history. Five different pagan people, Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim with their pagan gods were settled there.  Samaria, despite wanting to be Jewish in their religion, was not with Jerusalem and the true Jewish traditions.  Therefore Jesus said, “the one who is with you now is not your husband”.  The metaphor of marriage for God’s covenantal relationship is common language in the Bible.  Jesus, the Messiah, offered Samaria the living water she needs and invites them to enter into a personal and committed relationship with God.

The Samaritan woman gradually opens up to Jesus and understands him as someone greater than Jacob, then a prophet, and finally acknowledges him as the Messiah.  Where do you find yourself in your openness to Jesus: a great man of the old?  A great prophet?  Or the Saviour who provides the living water?

Drawn to Jesus as their personal saviour (Messiah), we have three catechumens preparing to be initiated through the waters of Baptism at Easter Vigil.  Keep them in your prayers.  Those who are already initiated through the waters of Baptism are to the Body of Christ (Church) come to the Eucharist to foster their personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Fellowship with the faithful and Communion with the Blessed Sacrament are appreciation of the life giving presence of Jesus Christ.