Lenten Reflection Series – Reflection 3

March 19, 2017 Lenten Reflections 2017

Theme: Forgiveness

ScriptureJohn 4:5-42

Jesus came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.

A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!” The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”

Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” They left the city and were on their way to him.

Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest’? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”

Reflection- Carol Reposa:
Even during my teen years, friends would rib me about my “brown stamp” tendency, my habit of recording every slight, real or imagined, on an ever-growing scoresheet in my brain.  This ledger expanded steadily during college, young adulthood and marriage, but it was my divorce in 1985 that triggered the real growth spurt.  I would devote hour upon hour to tabulating my grievances.

Then, nine years ago, my ex suffered a neurological trauma that destroyed his short-term memory.  He declined with each passing week, month, year.   It was like watching the lights go out, one by one, in what once had been a bright and shining city.  A few days before he died, in June of 2013, I kept vigil with him in the hospice where he had been placed.  He slept in his narrow bed, oblivious.  I puttered with the bedclothes, filled and refilled his water carafe, arranged and rearranged the potted plants on his windowsill.  Suddenly he opened his eyes and looked straight at me.  I looked back, transfixed.  He gazed at me urgently, almost pleading, as if to say, “What does our divorce matter now?  Let it go.”  In that freeze-framed moment, I could see my ledger dissolving before me, its many pages crumbling to dust.

I left the center and returned to my baking car, where I unlocked the door, slumped over the steering wheel and wept for 20 minutes.  I finally began the drive home, but everything seemed somehow different.  I felt younger, lighter, better looking, and almost eerily at peace for the first time in decades.  My ex was right:  what did all the wrongs on both sides matter now?  In forgiving him, I could forgive myself.  An alternative Jacob Marley, by some miracle I had shaken off my chains.  I never want to wear them again.

Reflection- Steve Alwais:

In this gospel reading, Jesus is talking to a Samaritan woman at the well.  It further states that the people who saw them talking, “were surprised that he was speaking to a woman.”  The reason is that at that time that men were not supposed to talk to women in public, but Jesus was.  In addition, he knew all about her past and told her many things that she had done.  The woman was surprised.  We, however, should not be surprised that Jesus also knows about her past, just as he knows all about ours.  Even though he knows about our past, he is still willing to be with us.

In her excitement, the woman left her water jar at the well and went back to the city to tell everyone about the Messiah.  She wanted them to know about Jesus.  The same should be our excitement.  We should be excited to tell everyone about Jesus and his love for us.

As a Jew that became a Christian, I am more than willing to tell everyone of the man I found.  I want everyone to know about Jesus.  I want everyone to know about the loving God that blessed my life.  Many people have heard that story from me.

As Christians, we are called to be witnesses of Jesus love.  The word “witness” scares many Christians.  But witnessing is just like in the courtroom.  It is telling the facts.  We are not called to convince anyone of anything.  That is the job of the Holy Spirit.  We are just to give the facts.  All that we have to do is tell others about the man that met us where we are.  Just as Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well; he has met us where we were.

The woman was excited to tell everyone.  We should be equally as excited.   Go ahead.  Be bold!  Be willing!  Be a witness!