Gospel: John 4:5-42
Two thirsts meet
Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.(John 4:6)
Noon. Not the best time to fetch water; it’s too hot. But it will be quick because the woman knows she never meets anyone at this hour. It’s better this way. But, today, there is someone there; a man, a stranger….
There are stories in the Gospel of unexpected and unhoped-for encounters.
Who would have thought that on that day Jesus would have crossed Samaria to return to Galilee?
Everyone knows it’s better to take the detour than risk meeting Samaritans.
Who would have thought that he would have spoken to a woman; a woman like that, some would say? A Samaritan woman; a woman who, one can immediately guess, lives on the fringe of her community. Here, Jesus breaks the rule that a man is not to speak in public to lone women, let alone a Samaritan woman.
Who would have believed that he would make the first move? He was so thirsty. He needed her. A Jew who needs a Samaritan woman? What a grace it is to need others!
And she, he guessed, was even thirstier than he. That day, two thirsts met: those of the road-weary Jesus and a woman who, at mid-day, came to draw water for her family.
Jesus approaches the woman with such respect and humility. He knows the depths of human thirst and that is why he does not hesitate to cross the borders and prohibitions that divide humans. Jesus and the woman take the time to get to know each other, each listening to the other’s real need. In this exchange, asking and receiving are intertwined; we move from ignorance to mutual recognition. What grace!
In the Bible, wells are highly symbolic meeting places. One can guess that this story will end in something worth understanding. How can we continue it today? Our road to Easter crosses the Amazon. It’s worth a halt. Let’s take our turn to make the time for an encounter.
Before the Synod for the Amazon and the For our Common Home campaign,we knew neither the name, nor the existence or struggles of the Mura people of Brazil. Today we have heard about even know a few names and faces like Francisco Oliverra da Silva and Greicilvani dos Santos da Silva. We know that they are the defenders of the Amazon rainforest, the protectors of the Earth. What if knowing their names and their existence changed something for them and for us? What if it gave a sacred meaning to our Share Lent?
We know that their way of life is threatened by intensive livestock farming and mining, and we know a little more about their struggle against land grabbing, deforestation and river pollution. They have become our partners.
On this Samaritan Sunday, our encounter with them takes on a rather special complexion. Here we are, virtually face-to-face, conscious of needing each other, of being interconnected.
This week, let’s move from ignorance of the Mura to recognizing them. The best we have to offer them is our fraternal solidarity with their joys and their hopes, their sadness and their anguish abouttheir future and that of their children. It is as if the story of the Samaritan woman continued today, through our encounter with this people.
Our Solidarity Letter, our prayer and our donations bring us closer to their dream of peace, justice, joy and abundant life. It is in the Gospel that our motivations and commitment are rooted and that we discover that it is at the heart of our daily thirst, struggles and hopes that the Good News can arise.
We are offering six weekly reflections that connect the proposed Gospel readings for the Sunday liturgy with our campaign theme. They will be published every Monday on our website or are accessible in the Resources section. This Lent, give from the heart For our Common Home!
Get your pencils ready!
For families with young children, we invite you to discover the weekly Gospel reflections of the 2020 Family Bulletin. Each reflection is accompanied by an illustration. Click on the image to download the illustration and reflection for this Sunday.