On this third Sunday of Lent, our Gospel is the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:5-42). Volumes of commentary have been written about this passage! I think of my Aunt Rose who used to complain, “Why does the Church make us hear the same scriptures over and over?” It’s because these Scriptures are the “living water” that keeps on quenching our spiritual thirst as we move through the landscape of life — like the Hebrews journeying through the desert in the Exodus reading today. How appropriate that in our journey now, we U.S. people — conflicted about foreigners — are listening to this Gospel story about a Samaritan. She is a distained “foreigner” to the Jews. Samaritans had intermarried with their Assyrian conquerors after the fall of the Northern part of Israel in 722 BCE. Jews were not even supposed to talk with them. In this story, and in the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus breaks with his culture and makes spiritual heroes of these outsiders. The Samaritan woman, to be sure, is not perfect. We don’t need to be perfect to be disciples; we become perfect by being disciples. This woman, at the end of her encounter with Jesus, has become a disciple and is telling everyone about her conversion — and they are listening and coming to meet Jesus themselves. The issues around immigration and securing our boarders are complex. As we think about, listen and engage in the discussion, it is good to remember that the outsiders we are talking about may be the very people who could bring the Good News of Jesus to us!
- Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia