March 19, 2017
Third Sunday of Lent
John 4: 5 - 42
Very often we go to God the Father seeking help in our various needs. In the Gospel today we learn what the Father is seeking. This revelation takes place during a very unlikely encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the well. It is unlikely because of the deep animosity that existed between the Jews and Samaritans. In Matthew's Gospel there is the account of the Samaritan Village that would not even permit Jesus and his Apostles to stay there because they were on their way to Jerusalem. In this Gospel Jesus and his apostles stop at the well and the only one there is a woman getting water. It is commonly thought that the reason why she was there alone is that because of having been married five times she was despised by the village, and would go at a time when no one would be there to harass her. This particular day she encounters Jesus, and she notices that he is a Jew and no doubt expects him to speak disrespectfully to her because she is a Samaritan. Instead he humbles himself and asks her for water. She is amazed at this and she and Jesus enter into a conversation in which Jesus tells her of the life-giving water that God desires her to drink. It is at this point that Jesus tells her about true worshipping, and that it is such people who the Father seeks to Worship Him.
The question we are compelled to ask ourselves is, "are we true worshippers?" Jesus amplifies the statement by telling us that true worshippers worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth. The gift of the Spirit is one that enables us to pray, but worshipping in Spirit is much more than this. It is the Spirit of God dwelling within us, and not our own spirit. It is the Spirit of God that brings truth into our lives so that our worship is in the Holy Spirit and the Truth of Christ. We are transformed and see Jesus in a different light. He is our Lord and Savior, the one who gives us life-giving water, and eternal life. When we live in Spirit and Truth it is difficult to contain within us the joy of God's love and presence. It comes forth from us in numerous ways, both intentional and unintentional.
The woman Jesus met at the well was transformed from the sinner who was an outcast to a missionary who wasted no time in telling the rest of the village about her encounter with Jesus. This happened very quickly and the Spirit and Truth were so evident that those who despised her came to follow her to meet Jesus. The hearts of the Samaritans were changed and they went from being people who did not welcome Jesus, to a village that begged him to stay. He did, and more and more of the people came to believe that Jesus is Savior of the World.
When we live Worship in Spirit and Truth our lives are transformed. We might go out with the intention of inviting others to experience the Lord. Our personal testimonies do not have to be long and complex, but can be simple sharing of how blessed we are by God. When we are living in Spirit and Truth even our regular everyday conversations reveal to those around us that there is something different about us. Maybe, it is a new sense of peace, an inner joy that others notice, or a confidence in speaking about God. May we become what the Father desires us to be, worshippers in Spirit and Truth, and may we allow him to transform us.
Fr. Killian Loch, O.S.B.