Third Sunday of Lent • Year A

Anthony P. Burrascano, O.S.A.
Saint Augustine Preparatory School
Richland, New Jersey

Ex 17:3-7
Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
Rom 5:1-2, 5-8
Jn 4:5-42

Jesus is doing something he likes to do: He is stirring people up, challenging them. Jesus comes to a Samaritan town. Jewish people and Samaritans did not mix and mingle, so it is scandalous that he even enters the town. He is hot and thirsty so he sits by the town well. A Samaritan woman comes to draw water and Jesus asks her to give him some water to drink. He has broken the rules by speaking to a woman he was not related to; that she was a Samaritan makes it even worse. Even she is taken back that he, a Jewish man, has spoken to her and asked her, a Samaritan woman, for a drink of water.

They then begin speaking of water, but the two are in a way on a different conversation. Jesus speaks of partaking of water by which you will never be thirsty again. This appeals greatly to the woman, who probably is tired of carrying a large jug constantly and cranking the handle of the well to bring water up from the depth. She is very interested in this water which will always quench her thirst and allow her to stop carrying water.

The woman is familiar with the coming of the Messiah, and that he will “tell us everything.” Jesus then makes a surprising statement when he says to this Samaritan woman, “I am he, the one who is speaking with you.” Many now come to believe in Jesus, and recognize him as “the savior of the world.”

Jesus has invited this Samaritan woman to partake of the water which will always quench her thirst, to quench her needs in life. The waters he speaks of symbolize the waters of Baptism, and the invitation from Christ to all of us to seek that which gives us life, our faith through Baptism.

Most of us were baptized as infants and had no say in entering the Christian community. We have to stop and ask ourselves how in my life do I see the waters of Baptism? Do we ever reflect on what it means to have partaken of the waters of Baptism? What does Baptism mean to me, does it change me, does it challenge me in how I live, treat others, relate to God ? Can I say that my Baptism makes a difference in my life? Does it do what Jesus likes to do, stir us up, challenge us, stir up the “waters” within us?

By entering the waters of Baptism we are called to be a light, a Christ in this world. We are called to imitate Christ. What did Christ do that we should challenge to do in our lives?

Jesus fed the hungry, healed the sick, embraced the rejected, ate with sinners. Called us to clothe the naked, give shelter to the homeless, be aware of the needs of our sisters and brothers.

Does our Baptism instill within us this same sense of reaching out to others that Christ did? Does our Baptism challenge us in our everyday lives in how we make choices in how we live in this world? Do the waters of our Baptism stir up within us a new way of living?

The Samaritan women longed for the water by which she would never thirst again. Can we say that we long for the waters of our Baptism which quenches the thirst of the question in our lives of how I live in this world each and every day?