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Friday, 10 March 2023 08:34

Celebrating At Home - 3rd Sunday in Lent

Come and drink
(John 4:5-16, 19-26, 39-42)

Last Sunday the Gospel of the Transfiguration completed the ‘little parable’ which begins Lent. The Gospels of the first two Sundays describe what Lent is about and what Christian life is about: a constant journey from temptation and doubt to transfiguration and faith; a journey away from allowing ourselves to be tempted to evil and towards allowing ourselves to be tempted to good by the action of God’s Holy Spirit within us.

The Gospels of the next three Sunday make clear that the Way from temptation to transfiguration is in and through Jesus Christ who is Living Water, Light and Life for the would-be disciple. They are three great stories from John about responding in faith:

• The Woman at the Well – coming to faith despite barriers, personal history, differences of religious tradition, circumstances of life.
• The Man Born Blind – Faith grows amidst all sorts of trials and the doubt of others.

• The Raising of Lazarus – Faith tested by the ultimate: death.

The first of the three ‘great Gospels’ of Lent is ours this weekend: the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman.

The ground-work for the Gospel is laid in the first reading from Exodus. The people are thirsty, God gives them water even though they grumble against him and ‘put him to the test’.

From the story of Jesus’ encounter with the woman we might gather that faith comes through personal encounter with Jesus who offers us the living water of his Spirit. Jesus offers us his spirit in spite of all kinds of barriers, our personal history or circumstances and our often stubborn reluctance. Faith is a journey – it takes time to understand what is being offered and who is offering it. Some barriers about religion or religious practice need to be transcended to enter fully into faith which does not depend on cultic rituals. Faith makes us into missionaries, evangelists, proclaimers of Good News.

Water is a powerful symbol of life. You can last many days without food, but only a few without water. In our Christian tradition water is a strong symbol of the life of God which sustains us and brings our hearts to life. That is why we use it in Baptism and to bless objects and ourselves. The living water Jesus promises is his Spirit. A spirit which heals and transforms; which revels in the experience of God’s love and mercy; which cannot help but proclaim God’s goodness.

Our fresh encounter with the spirit of Christ this Lent heals and transforms us, and makes us into a “living gospel for all to hear”.

Quiet time for reflection

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