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3rd Sunday in Lent Reflection

By 12th March 2023Reflections

Bible Readings: Exodus 17:1-7 John 4:1-26

Perhaps more than at any other time in our life, it is in the aftermath of some disaster or tragic event that we stop to think about those things that really matter to us – and how many of those have we have in the last few years. We don’t even have to have been directly touched by the tragic events themselves. Just knowing about them and the terrible suffering, pain and loss of life they have brought about and suddenly we think more about our own loved ones.

And there may even be further consequences as a result of these reflections – both good and bad. But the most dramatic moments in any of our lives will all be followed by the need to go, the next day, and somehow move on with our lives. With all those everyday, mundane but essential task

Like going back to the well to draw more water from it…

It’s difficult to imagine exactly what the woman at the well initially felt in her encounter with Jesus at the well. It must have actually been quite a shock for her – having Jesus tell her about everything of importance in her somewhat complicated life. But note that Jesus doesn’t blame her or anyone else for what’s happened in this woman’s life, He just tells it as it is. And in many ways, that takes us to, what for me, is the real key to this story.

So much of this story is metaphorical and uses a great deal of parenthesis in an attempt to explain what all this means. And let’s not forget that at this point in time, there is still so much misunderstanding on who Jesus is – even within His own Disciples. However, the Samaritan woman herself is smart enough to engage in conversation with Jesus about the water. And perhaps it was something of a pleasure for Jesus to talk with someone who catches on so quickly. Indeed, He even reveals to her that he is the Messiah.

The disciples don’t understand Him. They don’t get that He is speaking in images when he talks about food – things like saying He is the Bread of Life. They don’t get him at all. But this Samaritan woman appears to.

Indeed, as we read later in this chapter she goes back to the city, illuminated by her short conversation with Jesus and she spreads the word. And she must have done so with an air of conviction and certainty because the people then go out to meet Jesus – and He stays and wins hearts and souls.

And that is where perhaps we find what many would say is the main purpose of this story – to highlight for need for evangelism. Going to share our experiences with Jesus with others. And of course there are many lessons on evangelism that we can take from this passage. However, there are many other lesson we can take from it as well.

The very next day that woman would need to go back to that well to get ordinary, every day water for herself and whoever she was living with in her house. And even although Jesus would tell her the hour was near. The fact remains that we are still waiting and the work of being alive goes on – day after day.

Life goes on – it always has and it always will. Even amidst the tragedies and disasters that we are part of or hear of and even although we can scare imagine how – life does go on. And somehow we have to try and find away to cope with that life and all that it throws at us. Even, or perhaps, especially, when living in the aftermath of some tragic event.

Of course it’s never easy but still the every day tasks, like going to the well to collect water are still necessary. Yet all too often we lack the energy or the enthusiasm. All too often these mundane duties no longer seem to be as important. How can they be in light of whatever has happened…

But the thing is, once we lose enthusiasm and energy, once it gets to the point that things no longer seem important to us. Once we get to that point, we begin to lose our faith. And when that faith goes, any hope we might may have had of a brighter future, begins to fade – to drain away from us…

Which is why we need to keep coming back to drink of that water…not the ordinary, every day water we find in the well, but the water of life we find in Jesus. Whoever drinks the water I give will never thirst, said Jesus…

But even at this point there is still one more lesson for us to remember.

Before Jesus offers the woman at the well his living water He first of all asks her to give him some water from the well. Even as he offers to her something more valuable than she can possibly imagine, He asks of something from her. You could say, give and take.

And that’s the kind of relationship God wants from us…

He wants us to trust Him with all the everyday things of our life. All that we are and all that we do, each and every day, God wants us to hand over to Him, to trust and believe in Him. To accept His Son as our Saviour – and in return He will give us life eternal.

Now you might think that this shouldn’t be that difficult. It should be as easy as giving Jesus some water in the way that this woman did. Why shouldn’t we trust Jesus with our lives every day. After all, did He not give his life. His whole life for us. Why not, indeed.

Yet some might argue that this suggests Jesus love is in some way conditional and so consequently our salvation is conditional. Is this not saying that if we don’t trust Jesus with our lives then we will not be saved.

Well, the short answer to that is no – and yes.

No Jesus love was not – is not – conditional. God gave His One and only Son for every man, woman and child on this earth – for now and all times. No exceptions, no conditions…

But we need to accept and receive that love…

Remember John 3:16, ‘…for God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that and all who believed in Him would not perish but have life eternal. All who believed…

But here’s the thing, if we are not willing to trust Jesus with our lives, how can we say we believe in him – and if we don’t believe….

But if we do believe – ‘…the water I give will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life…’