Skip to comments.Just a Little talk with Jesus – Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Lent
Posted on 03/23/2014 2:31:33 AM PDT by markomalley
As we examine the Gospel for this weekends Mass, we do well to understand that it is fundamentally a gospel about our desires and how the Lord reaches us through them. Prior to looking at the text, consider a few things:
With this in mind, let us look at the journey that this woman (this means you) makes to Jesus. Things start out rough, but in the end she discovers her hearts truest desire. The journey is made in stages.
I. Rendezvous - Notice that the initiative here is Jesus As the Lord teaches elsewhere, It was not you who chose me, it was I who chose you (John 15:16). Jesus encounters a woman from Samaria at Jacobs well. She desires water, but Jesus knows that her desire is for far more than water or anything that the world gives. Her desire has brought her face to face with Jesus, a holy and fortunate rendezvous, if you will. Jesus begins a discussion with her about her hearts truest longing.
II. Request - The discussion begins with a request. The text says: It was about noon. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, Give me a drink. Imagine, God asking you for anything. What a stunning thing! What can she or we really give God? The answer is simply this, the gift of our very selves. God has put a threshold before our hearts that even he will not cross, unless we say Yes. This request of Jesus initiates a discussion, a dialogue of two hearts. As we shall see, the woman, like most of us, struggles with this dialogue. It is, to be sure, a delicate, even painful process for us to accept the invitation to self-giving that the Lord makes. Something in us draws back in fear. Scripture says, It is an awesome thing to fall into the hands of the living God! (Heb 10:31).
III. Rebuke Sure enough, she draws back with fear and anger. She says, How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink? For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans. In our journey to God, we do not always trust or understand Him at first. Some fear to relate to God because they think their freedom will be lost, or too many changes will be required. Others loathe the commandments, or fear they cannot keep them. Still others are angry at the unexpected twists and turns of this life and do not want to trust a God who doesnt always play by their rules. The womans anger, in particular, is based on the prejudices of her day. Her anger is not really at Jesus; it is at the Jews to whom Samaritans are hostile. This is sometimes the case with God as well. It is not always the Lord Jesus, or God the Father, that people hate or distrust, it is Christians. For it remains true that some have been hurt by the Church, or by Christians. Others have prejudiced opinions influenced by a hostile media and world. But, praise God, Jesus is willing to stay in the conversation. And so we next see:
IV. Repetition Jesus repeats his offer for a relationship. He says, If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, Give me a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. I dont know about you, but I am mighty glad that the Lord does not merely write us off when we say No. Jesus stays in the conversation and even sweetens the deal by making an offer to give her fresh, living water. The Lord does the same for us. First he gave the Law, then he gave the prophets, now he gives his Son. It just keeps getting better! First he gave water; then he changed it to wine; then he changed it to his blood. And, despite our often-harsh rejection of God, he keeps the dialogue open and going.
V. Ridicule The Woman is still hostile and now even ridicules Jesus: Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks? To the world, the teachings of God often appear to be foolishness. People often dismiss religious faith as fanciful and unrealistic. But here too the Lord is patient and continues on.
VI. Reminder Jesus now reframes the question by reminding the woman of the obvious: Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. What she is relying on cant come through for her. The worlds water does not satisfy us; the worlds delights are transitory. They promise satisfaction, but twenty minutes later we are thirsty again. The world is the gift that keeps on taking, it takes our money, our loyalty, our freedom, our time, and gives us only transitory, and ultimately unsatisfying pleasures in return. Its a bad deal. Everyone who drinks from this well will be thirsty again.
VII. Re-upping the offer Jesus says, But whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. Here the Lord speaks of happiness and satisfaction that he will give, that grows in us and makes us more and more alive. The water he offers, as we saw above, is the gift of the Holy Spirit. As the Holy Spirit lives in us and transforms us, we become more and more content with what we have. As the life of God grows in us, we become more alive in God and joyful in what he is doing for us. This is what the Lord offers us: the gift of a new and transformed life, the gift to become fully alive in God. I am a witness of this. How about you?
VIII. Result The woman has moved in Jesus direction. She has warmed to his offer and so she says: Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water. Here is the result of the Lords persistence. Thank God that he does not give up on us; he keeps calling, even when we say No, even when we sin; he just keeps calling our name!
IX. Requirement Jesus wants to give this gift, but first he must help her make room for it. For the truth is, she has unrepented sin. A glass that is filled with sand cannot be filled with water. The sand must be emptied first and then the cup cleansed. Only then can the water flow. Thus Jesus says, Go call your husband and come back. The woman answered and said to him, I do not have a husband. Jesus answered her, You are right in saying, I do not have a husband. For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true. Now she does what most of us do when we are in an uncomfortable spot: she changes the subject. She attempts to engage in a discussion about what mountain to worship on. Jesus is patient with her and answers her, but ultimately draws her back to the subject, which is her heart and what her desires are really all about.
X. Reconciliation - Now here the conversation gets private; we are not permitted to listen in. It is just between her and Jesus. But whatever it was, she is elated and will later declare: He told me everything I ever did. And there is no sense in her tone that Jesus was merely accusatory. Rather, it would seem that Jesus helped her to understand her heart and her struggle. An old song says, I once was lost in sin but Jesus took me in and then a little light from heaven filled my soul. He bathed my heart in love and he wrote my name above and just a little talk with Jesus made me whole. Here Jesus reconciles her with God and with her own self.
XI. Rejoicing The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Christ? They went out of the town and came to him. Do not miss that little detail: she left her water jar. The very thing she was depending on to collect the things of the world is left behind. What is your water jar? What do you use to gain access to the world and to collect its offerings? For most of us, it is money. And scripture says, For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Tim 6:10). At any rate, she is joyfully empowered to leave this enslaving water jar behind. Now, freed from its load, she is able to run to town and declare Jesus to others. Her joy must have been infectious, for soon enough they are following her out to meet the Lord!
So here is the journey of a woman who is ultimately each one of us. This is our journey out of dependence, out of a kind of enslaving attachment to the world, and unto Jesus, who alone can set us free. Here is our journey to understand that our desires are ultimately about God.
Msgr Pope ping
Just a little talk with Jesus ....Mr. Jones
I love George Jones, but I like the Oak Ridge Boys version better.
Transcendental longing is our “malady,” possibly a consequence of original sin.
Wow, I've never seen this before. I'll include this idea in my First Communion classes next month.
Oak Ridge Boys with one of the most beautiful fiddle lines ever.
I didn’t like that song when it first came out but it really grew on me as it climbed the charts.
There is so much to study in this parable.
Jews and Samaritans
Why was the woman there at noon? When did the women of those days usually get their water?
Water and living water — which Sacrament is Jesus talking about?
Does the Woman at the Well get what Jesus is saying? When?
The Disciples reaction
The woman’s reaction
The reaction of the people of Sychar
I forgot one thing.
The honesty of the woman.
The fiddle turns a song that is not very strong, lyrically, into something really special.
Scott Hahn proposes that the woman’s “five husbands” represent the gods of the nations which, mixed with Hebrews, produced the Samaritan people. (This is not inconsistent with their also being five real-life husbands as well.)
That makes sense. I’ll have to pass it on.
It’s in his series of recordings on the Gospel of John. You might find them streaming, or a text outline, on line. (I have them on cassette tape!)
I probably played that song hundreds of times when I was in radio because it was on the charts for awhile. It never occurred to me that the fiddle was what made the song until you pointed that out...but you are absolutely right!!!
MASS READINGS for March 23, 2014 (Third Sunday of Lent - Year A)
I. FIRST READING: Book of Exodus 17:3-7.
In those days, in their thirst for water, the people grumbled against Moses, saying, «Why did you ever make us leave Egypt? Was it just to have us die here of thirst with our children and our livestock?»
So Moses cried out to the LORD, “What shall I do with this people? A little more and they will stone me!”
The LORD answered Moses, “Go over there in front of the people, along with some of the elders of Israel, holding in your hand, as you go, the staff with which you struck the river.
I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb. Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it for the people to drink.” This Moses did, in the presence of the elders of Israel.
The place was called Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled there and tested the LORD, saying, “Is the LORD in our midst or not?”
II. PSALM: Psalms 95(94):1-2.6-7.8-9.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
Let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
Let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
Let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.
III. SECOND READING: Letter to the Romans 5:1-2.5-8.
Brothers and sisters: Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have gained access (by faith) to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God.
and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.
For Christ, while we were still helpless, yet died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die.
But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
IV. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 4:5-42.
Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon.
A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
(The woman) said to him, “Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;
but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
Jesus said to her, “Go call your husband and come back.”
The woman answered and said to him, “I do not have a husband.” Jesus answered her, “You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’
For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.”
The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Anointed; when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking with you.”
At that moment his disciples returned, and were amazed that he was talking with a woman, but still no one said, “What are you looking for?” or “Why are you talking with her?”
The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people,
Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Messiah?
They went out of the town and came to him.
Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.”
But he said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
So the disciples said to one another, “Could someone have brought him something to eat?”
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work.
Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here’? I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest.
The reaper is already receiving his payment and gathering crops for eternal life, so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together.
For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows and another reaps.’
I sent you to reap what you have not worked for; others have done the work, and you are sharing the fruits of their work.”
Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me everything I have done.”
When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word,
and they said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”
Also at a Lenten mid-week luncheon 2 years ago, a speaker said that the 5 husbands of the Samaritan women represented her struggle with infertility issues.
I notice stuff like that ;-). The fiddle made “Amarillo By Morning” a great song, too.
Good point, that’s certainly a possibility.