I. Third Sunday of Lent
II. We may be tempted to think of the well as a still pool of water…a cool refreshing pool…indeed…but still.
A. We may think that when the woman approached the well…she was coming to draw water in the heat of the day to refresh herself and her family…but what she would find was not a cool still pond…
B. She would find a river that would wash her and carry her along…a white water rapid that not only wash her clean but carry her back into the village to preach the Gospel to those who had rejected her.
C. She should not have been surprised for she knew the story of Moses parting the Red Sea and touching the rock to refresh the parched throats of God’s people.
1. She knew even now that the well she approached was Jacob’s well…the one who wrestled with an angel and saw God’s messengers ascending and descending between heaven and earth.
2. She knew that one was to come who would save God’s people.
3. But, she would not only be refreshed by the flowing water…not only cleansed…but carried away…the river was God’s highway.
III. And, yet, the flowing waters of this river were hidden.
A. They were hidden under the stones of a simple country well.
B. They were hidden under the simple robes of a man sitting waiting for a drink Himself.
C. They were hidden by her downcast eyes seeing only her present situation…her sins that gave her a cynical vision…Saint Thomas taught that sin darkens the intellect…darkens our understanding and vision of life.
D. So…she was caught off guard by a man who thirsted for her soul…her joy…her happiness…a man who sought not to take but to give the living water that flowed from Him…she found a man who is God sitting at this well to which she had come so many times…and she would be carried away.
IV. She threw barbs at Him about the Jews thinking their Temple was the only true Temple.
A. He was not only the Temple…but the water flowing from the right side of the Temple as Jeremiah had prophesied…the water flowing from the right side of the Temple that becomes a great river bringing life to the arid desert.
B. Yet, the water that would refresh her…the water that would cleanse her…the river that would carry her away was yet to be released…the flood gates not yet to be opened…although Moses would prefigure this river when he tapped on the rock…and parted the Red Sea…the water about which Nicodemus would speak with our Lord under the cover of night…the water that would cure the crippled man at the pool of Siloam…would only begin to flow…with one great act of love…
C. This river flowed from the side of Christ as He hung upon the cross…this was the water of the Temple born from an act of self-less love and mercy as blood and water would flow from his side as He hung upon the cross…and there is no doubt that Saint John who wrote this account of the woman at the well…and would comment upon it in his epistles was referring to the Grace that flows from Christ’s side in His Church through the Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist.
V. This means that the river has come for us too.
A. This river does not flow once or in one place.
B. This river flows from this altar and every altar in the world out into the world to refresh it, cleanse it and carry it to the promised land…eternity with the Father.
VI. When we look about our world, we may be tempted to think the river has a limit.
A. We may think the river can be walled off…kept from certain nooks and crannies…kept from performing its task of refreshing…cleansing and carrying…but we must remember that the woman thought she was seated at a still well…and she found a river.
B. The river, however, does not carry us places we do not want to go…this river is not one that floods the land and destroys…this river has not only a heart and soul but also a mind…and so He does not act irrationally or without our cooperation…He does not destroy our will in order to save us…He knows that the only true redemption respects our will…and so, although the woman at the well as surprised by the river…she allowed herself to be refreshed…to be washed and to be carried away…oh…there is no doubt she had a thick skin…but she was fertile ground waiting for the gentle clear waters of the river so that she might have life and have it to the full.
VII. What in us must die so that we might have life?
E. Coveting our time
F. This is Lent…the invitation to allow the river to wash us…to wash a humble contrite heart in the Sacrament of Reconciliation…and true conversion of heart.
G. This is really the key isn’t it? Believing that there is something in us in need of forgiveness…and then…believing that this can change.
VIII. Jesus Christ was at that well for a purpose…because He was thirsty…just as He said on the cross…”I thirst.” His thirst was not for a drink of water but for us.
I. Third Sunday of Lent