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3rd Sun Lent – Year A

06 March, 2023

– 15 – 3 – 2020-

Gospel text:  John 4:5-42

Woman at wellvs.5  Jesus came to the Samaritan town called Sychar, near the land that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.
vs.6  Jacob’s well is there and Jesus, tired by the journey, sat straight down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
vs.7  When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her,
Give me a drink.”

vs.8  His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
vs.9  The Samaritan woman said to him,
“What? You are a Jew and you ask me, a Samaritan, for a drink? – Jews, in fact, do not associate with Samaritans.

vs.10  Jesus replied,
If you only knew what God is offering and who it is that is saying to you: ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have been the one to ask, and he would have given you living water.”

vs.11  You have no bucket, sir, she answered and the well is deep: how could you get this living water?
vs.12  Are you a greater man than our father Jacob who gave us this well and drank from it himself with his sons and his cattle?
vs.13  Jesus replied: “Whoever drinks this water will get thirsty again;
vs.14  but anyone who drinks the water that I shall give will never be thirsty again: the water that I shall give will turn into a spring inside him, welling up to eternal life.”
vs.15  Sir,” said the womangive me some of that water, so that I may never get thirsty and never have to come here again to draw water.”
vs.16  Go and call your husband” said Jesus to her “and come back here.”
vs.17  The woman answered, I have no husband.”
He said to her, “You are right to say, ‘I have no husband’;

vs.18  for although you have had five, the one you have now is not your husband. You spoke the truth there.”
vs.19  I see you are a prophet, sir” said the woman.
vs.20  Our father worshipped on this mountain, while you say that Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”
vs.21  Jesus said: ‘Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
vs.22  You worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know: for salvation comes from the Jews.
vs.23  But the hour will come – in fact it is here already – when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth: that is the kind of worshipper the Father wants.
vs.24  God is spirit, and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth.”
vs.25  The woman said to him, I know that Messiah – that is, Christ – is coming; and when he comes he will tell us everything.”
vs.26 I who am speaking to you,” said JesusI am he.”
vs.27  At this point the disciples returned, and were surprised to find him speaking to a woman, though none of them asked, “What do you want from her?” or “Why are you talking to her?”
vs.28  The woman put down her water jar and hurried back to the town to tell the people,
vs.29  “Come and see a man who has told me everything I ever did; I wonder if he is the Christ?”
vs.30  Many Samaritans of that town had believed in him on the strength of the woman’s testimony when she said,
He told me all I have ever done‘, so, when the Samaritans came up to him, they begged him to stay with them. He stayed for two days, and when he spoke to them many more came to believe; and they said to the woman,
Now we no longer believe because of what you told us; we have heard him ourselves and we know that he really is the saviour of the world’.


We have four sets of homily notes to choose from. Please scroll down the page for the desired one.

Michel DeVerteuil :      A Trinidad Priest, Specialist in Lectio Divina
Thomas O’Loughlin: 
  Prof of Hist. Theology, University of Notttingham
John Littleton:              
Director of the Priory Institute, Tallaght D 24
Donal Neary SJ:          
Editor of The Sacred Heart Messenger  


Michel de Verteuil
Lectio Divina
with the Sunday Gospels  – Year A


General notes

This Sunday’s reading is very long; I suggest that you use the shorter version for your meditation (verses 5 to 30).
Jesus leads the woman along a wonderful journey towards a deeper, more human life. You can enter into the story from the perspective of the woman – when have you (or someone you know)  made a similar journey in your relationship with God, with others, with your own self? Recognize the woman’s resistance to growth, her complacency, her evasions, and her eventual acceptance, partial though it was, of Jesus.

You can enter the story with Jesus, the ideal leader, parent, teacher or spiritual guide. Notice how he meets the woman where she is, needing her assistance; how he is patient with her but also challenges her to grow to what she is capable of.

Textual comments

The story is in two sections:
– Verses 2 and 3 : At first the woman is content with the water she draws from the well. Jesus very gradually leads her to search for another kind of water which has two characteristics: when you drink it you do not get thirsty again, as it comes from a spring inside of you. Enter into the metaphor so that you can recognize the spiritual journey it evokes for you. When have you experienced Jesus guiding others in this way?
–  Verses 15 to 24, and 29 :  Here the journey is the woman coming to trust Jesus as Messiah because he leads her to self-knowledge: “He told me everything I ever did.” Recognize spiritual growth as that kind of journey, with Jesus as guide.

Situate the story in the context of Lent, thinking of all those who will experience conversion and growth at this season, those who will be received into the Church community on Holy Saturday night, or who will take part in Lenten missions.

Scripture prayer

The task of the educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts.”  …C.S. Lewis

thirst for GodLord, the world is thirsting for living water.
So many people are content with water which, when they drink it, leaves them thirsty for more:
in personal relationships they look for security and domination;
in positions of authority they enjoy lording it over others;
they sacrifice precious things for the trappings of power;
they compromise their principles for popularity.

Send them Jesus who will lead them to ask for another kind of water:
trust in relationships;
service in authority;
sincerity and truth rather than power;
integrity at whatever cost;
the kind of water which they will drink and need never be thirsty again,
water that they do not have to go to a well for because it comes from a spring inside them and wells up to eternal life..

One does not seek to find a master, neither does one find a master. When the disciple and master meet they simply recognize each other.”  …Mariella Robitaille, Canadian contemplative nun
We pray for teachers, parents, community leaders, spiritual guides,
that like Jesus they may
wait at the well where people gather,
speak to them about down-to-earth realities they know,
be patient when they are arrogant or mocking,
challenge them to move beyond where they are,
give them space until of their own accord
they put down the water jar that was so important to them and hurry away.

Forgive us preachers of the gospel that we come to others as superiors,
afraid to acknowledge that we are tired and thirsty;
afraid to ask them for a drink;
conscious that we are rabbis and they are ordinary women or men;
that we are Jews and they are Samaritans.

“I would not have anyone think that I became a Catholic because I was convinced of the truth. I became a Catholic because I fell in love with the truth.” Eric Gill, English religious sculptor

A man in need shares his faith with Pope Francis

A man in need shares a moment  with Pope Francis.

Lord, we thank you for great people we have known who in eyes of the world appear to be needy, but really are not:
those who are in prison but in reality are free;
those who have few possessions but are wealthy;
those who live in small houses with place for many;
those who have no power and yet influence thousands.

It seems at first that they are thirsty and we have access to wells .
We soon realize that we are the ones who should be asking them for living water
and they have it to give us. Thank you, Lord.

Lord, forgive us that we run away from the important questions,
we argue whether we should worship on this mountain or in Jerusalem,
forgetting that you are Spirit, and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth.

My cell will not be one of stone nor wood, but self-knowledge.”  …St Catherine of Sienna
We thank you for those who have led us to understand ourselves better; it was as if they told us everything we ever did, so that we had a fleeting experience of meeting the Christ.


Thomas O’Loughlin
Liturgical Resources for the Year of Matthew

Note for this Sunday
The assumption of these resources is that the community is not celebrating the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults process; if it is, then its liturgy will differ from that in the Missal (pp. 96-7) and have its own specific requirements.

Introduction to the Celebration

Mystery of GodDuring Lent we reflect on God’s loving mercy: he comes to us as sinners with the offer of new life, he puts no limit on those to whom he offers his love and forgiveness, and he bids us to do the will of the Father. Christ is offering us now his love and forgiveness. Let us recall that we are in his presence, let us recall our need, let us ask him to give us new life and pour into our hearts the Holy Spirit.

Homily Notes
1. Lent is a time for the whole community to prepare to celebrate new life that arises from water: which cleanses, renews, and enlivens. It is a preparation for a renewal by the whole community of its allegiance when we declare that ‘we know that Jesus really is the saviour of the world’ in the renewal of baptismal promises at the Easter Vigil.

2. It is also a time when we reflect on our trust and hope in God: the people were tested by God to see would they call to him as the saviour. How would we fare in that test, or is our trust and hope elsewhere?


John Litteton
Journeying through the Year of Matthew

Gospel Reflection

woman_at_the_wellFrom whom or from where do we draw life? This question can be answered on several levels. Maybe we draw life from our spouses as we experience their love. Perhaps we draw life from our children whenever we rejoice in their talents and achievements. We may draw life from the fulfilment and satisfaction provided by our work that makes a real difference to the quality of life for us and for other people. Or we may draw life from our hobbies that renew our enthusiasm for life.

However, on a deeper level — that of the depths of our being — from whom do we draw life? For Christians, there is only one completely satisfactory answer to this question. Christians believe that God is the sole author of life and that they draw life in all its fullness from God, in and through his Son Jesus Christ. The fountain of living water is to be found with Jesus: a fountain from which eternal life gushes.

Jesus and FamilyWe all share in the fruits of this living water because, through baptism, we share in the death and resurrection of Christ. We have become his brothers and sisters and, together in the Church, we are God’s family on this earth nourished by the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. During Lent, even as we fast and do penance, we are challenged to rediscover the person of Jesus from whom we draw life, the only life that ultimately matters.
Therefore, we need to pray to God asking that Jesus, the living water, may strengthen us in our weaknesses. If only we could drink once again with pure hearts from the fountain of life, hearts that have been renewed by a true spirit of repentance and reconciliation. When we respond to the loving presence of the God in our lives, we learn to love and respect other people.

Like most people, the Samaritan woman whom Jesus met at the well was seeking life and the truth. Yet she was unknowingly speaking to the Life and the Truth. Jesus offered to make a real difference in her life while she listened attentively to his words. We can make a real difference to others and ourselves by listening attentively to the word of God, the true fountain of life, and by living according to its message of hope and life.

Therefore, let our prayer for today and always be: God our Father, we draw our life from you. You are the fountain of life. Your word is living water without which we die. Enable us, through the death and resurrection of your Son and through the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, to grow in love and understanding. Accompany us on our journey through life, so that we may go with confidence into your world as a new creation — one body drawing life from the one fountain of life — so that the world may believe.

For meditation

But anyone who drinks the water that I will give will
never be thirsty again:the water that I shall give will turn into a spring inside him, welling up to eternal life. (Jn 4:14)


 Donal Neary SJ:  
Gospel Reflections for Sundays of Year A: Matthew

The well is deep

A famous picture has the Samaritan woman looking into the well and seeing there her image – and the image of Jesus. In the depths of the well of her life is the presence of Jesus.

In the depths of the well, when we are in love, pain, death, decision, joy, we find God. God is near when we are near to our­selves, even in shame and sin. We thirst for meaning in life, for knowing we are totally loved, for community and companion­ship – and God offers all this.

This is the offering of God – the living water is the Holy Spirit. We thirst for inclusion – the disciples in this story did not want Jesus talking to a woman. So much of the religion of the time separated people. In the depths of the well we are all equal.

We find the mercy of God in the well. As we go into the depths of prayer and ourselves we are open to mercy. We may put con­ditions on God’s mercy – naming our sins, or numbering them. At the bottom of the well is the water of mercy.

Of the mercy of God, Pope Francis says that ‘there is no sin or crime of any kind that can erase from the mind or heart of God even one of the children he has created’ (November 2013).

Imagine yourself looking into a well;
see the face of Jesus looking at you from its depths.
He looks at you with love.
Lord, send me the living water of the Holy Spirit.