Far Better Than a Water Jar

Far Better Than a Water Jar March 14, 2020

Having met Jesus, she now carries eternal life instead of a water jar.
“The Woman of Samaria at the Well,” by J. Tissot. Brooklyn Museum / Public Domain.


John 4:5-42, for Mass on the Third Sunday of Lent


The savior of the world says salvation is from the Jews.

Today in his Gospel the savior is traveling.

He, a Jew, is passing through the territory of the Samaritans, who, like the Jews, are offspring of Jacob.

However, since the Samaritans had long ago intermarried with pagans, the Jews held their Samaritan kin to be both half-breeds and heretics.

The Gospel tells us Christ, a Jew, is tired from his journey, and sat down at Jacob’s Well, just outside the Samaritan town of Sychar.

A townswoman fetching water finds Christ at the well.

She doesn’t know he has already searched through her soul.

He already knows she has been married to five men, and that she is now living outside marriage with a sixth man.

She, and later her townmates, end up giving Christ a series of titles, with each title being more important than the one before it.

  • A Jew.
  • A man greater than our father Jacob.
  • A prophet.
  • The Messiah, which means anointed.
  • Lastly:  the savior of the world.

However, this rising water of growing glory that the Samaritan townsfolk give to Christ also shows what is going on in their souls.

The water of the Spirit, faith, and salvation has already begun flooding the souls of the town and welling up to eternal life.

At this time of year, many persons are now preparing to fully enter the Church this coming Easter through the saving sacraments of the Baptismal Water, the Confirming Oil of the Anointed One, and the Holy Eucharist of the Savior of the world.

Today’s Gospel reading has belonged since of old to this third Sunday of Lent.

Led by the Spirit, the Church chose this reading to teach those who were receiving their last purifications and lessons before receiving the sacraments at Easter.

We who are already baptized will renew the vows of our Baptismal Faith on Holy Saturday Night and a few hours later on Easter Sunday Morning.

We who are already baptized and anointed as members of the Eucharist of Christ— we use the purifications and penances of Lent to prepare for our renewal at Easter.

Through today’s Gospel, God reminds us of what we have received and continue to receive in faith, the sacraments, worship, prayer, and the practice of all the virtues.

In Christ, God the Son, we receive God the Spirit who waters us with holiness and eternal life as children of God the Father.

Easter, the Resurrection of Christ, brings all of that to us.

In his “rule-book” for monks, St. Benedict wrote that Lent is a time to offer up willingly more than the usual in our service of God.

St. Benedict urged us to carry out our Lenten sacrifices with the joy of the Holy Spirit and look forward to the Resurrection, to Easter, with the joy of spiritual longing.

Today, the Lord’s Day, we come out of the towns of our daily lives to this rock that is the risen Christ, the altar of Christ, and the well of Christ.

We need to let our own thirst for blessing and joy grow by our faith that Christ whom we eat and drink is himself the bottomless well of the Spirit leaping up to the Father in unending life.

The Gospel is careful to tell us that the woman at the well today, after acknowledging her sins, left her water jar.

Leaving it meant she hurried easily into the town to tell the people of Christ.

It also meant she was not hauling water for her live-in boyfriend— the SIXTH man she had lived with after FIVE husbands.

Now, instead of the boyfriend, she now has the everlastingly better gift of God in Christ, the SEVENTH man in her life— the only One who would not use her.

Rather, Christ would free her to leap up to eternal life.

The woman left her water jar and went into the town to tell of the wonders of Christ.

The wonders of Christ, the joy of the Spirit, the Father’s home, and eternal life are already ours as long as we confess our sins, and leave behind whatever cannot compete with the Savior of the world.

He is waiting for us at the well.

He is waiting for us at the altar.

Turn. Love. Repeat.

A link to some remarks I’ve made here and there: Disease, Social Distancing, Limitations on Celebrations of the Eucharist at Mass.

Dear Readers of “Turn. Love. Repeat.”

California where I reside had a new law go into effect on January 1, 2020. California Assembly Bill 5 forbids freelance writers, editors and photographers from providing more than 34 content submissions to a media organization per year unless the organization hires the freelancer as a salaried employee. Patheos is a media organization, and I am a freelancer. So now I must limit my posts to 34 per year, or 1 post about every 10 days.

So as not to exceed my legal limit, between my postings here at Patheos I will publish my “extra” pieces at my personal blog, Monk Notes.

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