By Fr Siju Xavier

First Reading: Ex 17:3-7

Second Reading: Rom 5:1-2. 5-8

Gospel: Jn 4:5-42








In his Apostolic Letter Desiderio Desideravi, Pope Francis underscores the importance of having a place at the Lord’s Supper. He draws our attention to the fact that no one has earned a place at the ‘Supper’, but all had been invited! All had been drawn there by the desire of the Lord to eat the Passover with them. To be admitted to the feast, all that is required, is the wedding garment of faith which comes from hearing of his Word. The Holy Father exposes an interesting point here, that the Church tailors such a garment to fit each one’s need. The only expectation perhaps is to let ourselves to be drawn by God and to be found by him – like the woman at the well, unreservedly surrendering her will to God to be found and be saved.

Lent is not only a time for us to intensify our search for God, but it is also a time to let ourselves to be found by God. The whole story of the Bible is about a God who is in search of us, more intently than human beings searching for God. The story of the Samaritan woman at the well is a striking example of God’s search for us, as Jesus clearly said, “the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost” (LK 19:10). Routinely, the woman had been coming to the well to fetch water usually at a time when no one else steps out of their home due to the scorching heat of the sun. Her stealthy action here indicates how she wished to conceal herself from publicity as she herself was aware of how messy her life was! For her, the burning heat of the sun in the middle of the day was more tolerable than the heat of insults and judgement of her neighbours.


However, we see Jesus at the well as if he was deliberately sitting there waiting for her. In this unexpected encounter of Jesus, we see a gradual conversion of who she really is. The compassionate approach of the Lord changed the woman, who eventually recognised the Messiah in Jesus. The power of his mercy transforms a person who was buried in guilt and shame into a person who comes into the limelight to proclaim boldly that she has met the anointed one of God.


What we see here is the action of Jesus going out to meet the woman where she was, and at the same time, as she was. By doing this, he proved that there is absolutely nothing in human life that he cannot deal with. The miracle of transformation which changed her into a redeemed human person is only possible by the merciful intervention of Christ.


In this Lenten season, dear friends, Jesus invites us in a special way to his ‘Supper’, because he knows we do not merit a place there by just being a Christian. He invites us to wear the garment of faith by reading and meditating on his Word. He wants to come and meet us where we are at – more importantly as we are now – in our messiness and filth, in our guilt and shame which at times force us, like the Samaritan woman, to hide our true self from Jesus. Fear not to stand before him as we are, for he is ready to transform us, to heal us and to save us. Will you let him?