Third Sunday of Lent

03-19-2017HomiliesDeacon Jeffrey Arner

Have you every tried to go through life and not even consider God in His master plan working through every decision and action that we throw at Him? Chances are you might be doing that right now. You are probably thinking about your next meal or whom you are going to meet. You might even be thinking how you are going to spend your day relaxing or not relaxing. Most likely you aren't even thinking about when or how God is going to encounter you.

In the stories we hear from the Exodus and in John we see how God encounters his people. It is through a very basic need, "Thirst". The Israelites who were in the desert were growing more and more thirsty traveling from Egypt. We are told that they were, in fact, testing God to see if He was with them. In the Gospel from John we hear of a woman from Samaria who was drawing water from Jacob's well in the middle of the day. In both accounts God encounters His people, providing nourishment and hope.

With the woman who encountered Jesus at the well, what do we know about her? She is going there at noon. This is not a common time of day for the women to go and draw water. Usually, they would go early in the morning. Given this woman's history of having five husbands and she is living with a man who is not her husband, she probably chose this time of day to avoid her peers and see how they might shun her. This woman is probably the kind of woman that the wives would tell their husbands to stay away from. Needless to say, many probably know her. History also states that usually women meet their future husbands at a well. In Gen 24:10-53, Abraham's servant, who was sent to find a wife for Isaac, meets Rebekah at a well. Isaac's son Jacob meets Rachel, the love of his life, at a well in Gen. 29:1-14. Perhaps the Samaritan woman was going to the well in hopes of finding the right man. Well, indeed she did meet the right man. Jesus is tired from a long journey and sits down to take a rest at the well. The disciples are off somewhere trying to find provisions for them and this woman comes to draw water. Jesus starts off requesting a drink from the woman. The woman is shocked that a male Jew would even speak to her. In fact, the disciples are shocked that he is speaking to her too. Quickly, the woman enters into conversation with Jesus. Jesus tells her that the water that he has to offer is living water and you will never grow thirsty again if you take his water of eternal life. She, not understanding what he was saying asked for this water so that she wouldn't be thirsty and have to come to that well again. Jesus doesn't make her feel bad for not knowing but continues to talk to her and reveals that he knows all about her life. Mainly, the sins that she has committed. Yet you can see that he is not making her feel bad but being understanding and telling her that someday all will worship God in Spirit and truth. Jesus had to tell her that he was the Messiah before she fully understood and went and told everyone whom she hadencountered.

This Sunday's readings are truly about God's mercy and love pouring out to God's people who have become vulnerable to the point of allowing God to satisfy the thirst that we all have. We notice that Jesus wasn't standing in authority over the woman but sitting with her and meeting her where she is. Jesus didn't use this moment to chastise her or judge her but only kept offering her what God truly desires to do for all of us. I mentioned before that historically people met their future spouse at the well. Here this woman met her future husband in the person of Christ. Christ offered himself to her by providing the well to eternal life much like we as a Church are the bride of Christ. Allowing Christ to provide for us more than we need. We just need to be open and allow Christ to meet us where we are. This woman went out to all of Samaria to share this experience that she had with Christ. She was no longer ashamed but excited to share this moment with all and many came out to meet and hear from them. We are told that many came to believe not only on her testimony for on the Words of the Word made flesh. She shared an experience that she had with our Lord and that is all it took. God was using her to bring others in and get to know who Christ is. This is what evangelizing is all about, witnessing Christ's work of redemption and mercy in our own lives. Lets make our lives purposeful by allowing Christ to encounter us so that He can use us to build God's Kingdom.