A reflection on John 4:5-42
Conversations can be life giving. They can bring about new insight. They can open us up to a new understanding of ourselves. Our gospel reading today tells the story of Jesus’ encounter with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well.
The conversation that unfolds between Jesus and the Samaritan woman reveals what happens when we drink the life-giving water Jesus offers: we come face to face with the Saviour of the world; we admit the truth of our own lives; and we can’t help but proclaim Jesus’ presence and his message to all who will listen. Encounter, truth, proclamation – these are the three different stages of our Lenten journey which move us towards transformation and new life.
Jesus promises the Samaritan woman ‘living water’ and he promises the disciples food that satisfies beyond mere hunger. That ‘living water’ is nothing less than Jesus himself as saviour, the ‘love of God’ poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus helps the woman at the well go from a literal understanding of water to his gift of ‘living water’ by telling her everything she had done. He helps her come to a new understanding of herself that enables her to witness to Jesus as the Messiah. She began her ‘Lenten journey’ at the well with an encounter with Jesus, faced the truth about herself, and eagerly proclaimed her newfound lease on life. She models for us what happens when we drink the life-giving water Jesus offers. She models for us insight and new self-understanding of a depth that only God can give.