3rd Sunday of Lent Year A - 12/3/2023 - Gospel: John 4:5-42 

Boundary Crossing
On their way to the Promised Land, the chosen people complained to Moses that they had no water. Moses appealed to God. Instead of telling Moses where to dig a well, God told him to strike the rock. Surprisingly, the water gushed out from the rock. Only the Almighty God can do such an impossibility. This incredibility is going to happen at Sychar. Jesus changes the 'stony' heart of the woman to be the heart of flesh. All the villagers fail to change her 'immoral way' of life. They punish her by refusing to associate with her. She herself avoids some sort of 'unfriendly look' from her own people, and protests their negativity by whispering about her behaviour. She chooses the hottest time of the day, and also a quiet time, to draw water from the village well. From afar, she sees a man sitting next to the well. She has no alternative because she needs water. His name is Jesus, and he asks her for a drink. She feels that it is rather an unusual request; because Jews don't associate with Samaritans; men don't seek help from women, and the 'chosen people' aren't friend of the pagan.

There are twists and turns in this story. First, Jesus asks the woman for a drink; it turns out she is the one who asks for a drink. Second, the woman talks about the physical water, while Jesus talks about different kinds of water, the spiritual water. Third, her villagers judge her badly, they now listen to her. Fourth, the woman leaves her drawing bucket at the well which indicates the significant change in her life; and finally, her 'immoral way of life' changes to the way of compassion and love.

Jesus initiates the conversation by asking the woman for a drink. It then moves to the next level, the living water, and finally arrives at the highest level, the everlasting water. The living water implies both a life-changing, and also eternal life. It is life-changing because it is running water, flowing water, not stagnant water. Flowing water brings freshness and purification. It will purify the woman's life; that erase her past life as we see it later on. Drinking water from the well will get thirsty again, but the living water Jesus gives

'will never be thirsty again' because the living water 'will turn into a spring inside him, welling up to eternal life' Jn 4,14.

This indicates the woman no longer needs the bucket to draw water. Jesus knew of her past. He told her about it, without judging or condemning her; and that encouraged her to review her entire life and make changes. The woman desires to receive living water; but doesn't know how. When Jesus asks her to call her husband; her honesty reveals her inner life; she replies that

'I have no husband'.

Jesus tells her

'You are right Jn 4,17'.

The truth sets her free. The woman begins to see the stranger as a prophet.

'I see you are a prophet'.

Her faith in Jesus moves to the next level, from being a prophet to being the Messiah. She expresses her desire for the true way of worship. The case is now reversed; it is she who asks Jesus for living water. Jesus told her the true way of worship,

'The kind of worshipper the Father wants. God is spirit, and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth' Jn 4,24.

Her faith in Jesus is deepened, and is able to bear the truth; that Jesus is the Messiah- The Christ. Jesus reveals himself to her, saying,

'I who am speaking to you'. Jn 4, 25.

The woman is truly honest, making a public confession,

'He told me all I have ever done'. Jn 4, 29.

This news made the villagers come to Jesus. They listened to him and confess that

'He really is the saviour of the world'. Jn 4,42

The woman's conversion of the heart brings Jesus to others.