Views From The Pews – Third Sunday in Lent

Brothers & Sisters:

In the Gospel reading for today (John 4:5-42), we heard of the encounter between the Lord and a Samaritan woman, who belonged to the group of people often considered by the Jewish people as pagans and wicked, unworthy of God. The Samaritans inhabited the region where Samaria, the old capital of the northern kingdom of Israel was located.  They were descended from a mixture of people that the Assyrians brought in to settle in the land after they conquered and destroyed the northern kingdom.  The resulting mingling of those foreigners and some leftover members of the ten northern tribes of Israel eventually became the Samaritans.

The Samaritans, based on their practice, also believed in some form of worship of God, although they believed, as the Samaritan woman mentioned, that the correct way of worship was in the mountains that they dwelled in, and not in Jerusalem as the Jews argued. They could not be reconciled as each party proudly maintained their views and ideas as the correct one while the other one was wrong.

The Lord told her that ultimately, seeking the Lord, the true Spring of Life, is what matters, and not how each of the people argued whether their way of doing it was correct. The woman was looking for water in the well at the area, known as the ‘Well of Jacob’ after the well that Jacob, the patriarch of the Israelites established in that area, and which the Samaritans considered as their forefathers as well. The Lord told her that the water that she sought would not truly satisfy her, as she would become thirsty again, while the ‘Spring of Living Water’ that He has, will provide for eternity, and she will never be thirsty any more. This was a reference and can be compared to how the Lord provided for His people throughout the period of the Exodus, that Rock that always provided water without ceasing, that came from the Lord Himself. But on a deeper level, this refers to things that the Lord alone can provide, that worldly things cannot.