Praying Sunday’s Gospel March 15

Resources to help you pray with scripture using Lectio Divina and/or Visio Divina and audio divina (praying with music)

Lectio Divina is a way of hearing God speak to us.  This is the Gospel that will be read in its entirety on Sunday at mass. 

3rd Sunday of Lent March 15th, 2020

We know that this is truly the Savior of the world

John 4:42

John 4.5-42

So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!” The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”

Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” They left the city and were on their way to him. Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest’? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”

Commentary: In today’s Gospel, the dialogue between Jesus and a woman from Samaria is among the longest and most theological found in Scripture. The most startling aspect of the conversation is that it happens at all. Jesus, an observant Jew of that time, was expected to avoid conversation with women in public. The animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans should have prevented the conversation as well. The woman herself alludes to the break from tradition: “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” Yet Jesus not only converses with the woman, he also asks to share her drinking vessel, an action that makes him unclean according to Jewish law. The initial conversation between Jesus and the woman is better understood if we consider the importance of water, especially in the climate of Israel. At first, the woman understands Jesus’ promise of “living water” in a literal sense: “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” With no running water, the daily trip to the well by the women of the community was of paramount importance. The women of the town would have traveled to the well in the early morning, but this woman came to the well at noon, the hottest time of the day. The timing of her visit is a clear sign that she is an outcast within the Samaritan community. We learn in her conversation with Jesus that she is an outcast because of her “many husbands.”  The significance of the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman has many levels. The first is personal: The woman is herself converted to belief in Jesus as Messiah because he knows her sin but speaks with her just the same. The second is social: Having come to know Jesus as the Messiah, the Samaritan woman becomes an evangelist to her own people.  The third level of the story is educational: Jesus uses his encounter with the Samaritan woman to teach his disciples that God’s mercy is without limit. The disciples return from their shopping quite confused to find Jesus talking with a Samaritan, and a woman at that! But the conversion of the Samaritan townspeople is a foretaste of the kind of open community that will be created among those who believe that Jesus is the Messiah.”


1.  What major differences do you discover about the relationships between the Jews and Samaritans of Jesus’ time?

2.  How does the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman change their relationship?  3.  Who do you want to be within your circle of friends, family, or with a significant other?

3.  What pressures do you face on a daily basis and how do these challenge who you want to be?

See also: Irish Oblates The Woman at the Well

Pope Francis Angelus 23 March 2014 The Woman at the Well

Pope Francis Angelus March 20 2017 Living Water

Pope Francis Angelus March 15 2020

Audio Divina: Song Lyrics  – Deeper Well Wailin’ Jennys (written by David Onley)

Lyrics to Deeper Well

Visio Divina

Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well, Painted by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller (1793-1865)
  1. What do you see?
  2. What do you feel?
  3. What do you wonder?
  4. What questions do you have?
  5. How is this work related to the Gospel?
  6. What do others say about this work? (see below)
  7. What does it mean for my life?

Reflection on the Painting

Waldmüller was one of the most important Austrian painters of the Biedermeier period, an era in Central Europe between 1815 and 1848, during which the middle classes grew in number, and the arts appealed to common sensibilities, becoming popularised. Everyone wanted to buy some art, and thus artists turned to classical painters to find inspiration and produce works in large numbers. Our painting composition is based on a work by Annibale Caracci from 1604. The colours are crystal clear, rich in their variation. Jesus’ blue cloak contrasts with the opposite yellow of the cloak of the Samaritan woman. The soft blue sky with white touches of clouds finds similar tones in the tunics of Jesus and the woman. The yellow stone of the well is reflected in the Samaritan woman’s dress. As you can see, this painting is all about playing with colour. It is pleasing to the eye. The mountain in the background and its structure resemble the holy Mount Gerizim of the Samaritans. Jesus and the woman are barefooted, indicating they are taking their time to talk, whilst resting. His gestures indicate that He is in the middle of explaining things to the Samaritan woman: one finger indicating the One Truth He is talking about in today’s reading, and also pointing towards His other hand… which will be pierced with a nail very soon… The purity of depiction of Jesus in our painting today is in stark contract with the horrendous death he will soon suffer.  As Jews and Samaritans had been fighting for over 400 years at this stage, this story would have been very surprising to the followers of Jesus. A Jew asking hospitality of a Samaritan would have been unheard of. Jesus has no time for racial narrow-mindedness and religious prejudice, He just sees her as a person and approaches her as a person. He acknowledges the woman as an equal. It is precisely because Jesus treats her with such sensitivity and openness that she can be totally honest with Him and be her true self. Words of openness, kindness and encouragement can bring about daily resurrections of hope in people…

by Patrick van der Vorst

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