This liturgical year, which began with Advent, is “Cycle A,” in which Matthew’s Gospel is often the Gospel reading. But on the third, fourth and fifth Sundays of Lent, we hear three passages from the Gospel of John. Our Church places such importance on these three passages that they also may be used as the Gospel readings on these same Sundays during the Cycles B (Mark) and C (Luke) years, especially at Masses where the candidates for Easter sacraments are present. Each of these three Gospel passages calls us to remember and recommit to an aspect of our faith.
John the Evangelist is always writing on two levels — the literal story of what happened, and the metaphorical level — how something in the story points toward our discipleship life in the risen Christ. Today’s story is about a woman at a well whom Jesus encounters. Jesus asks for a drink, and in the conversation that follows, the woman at the well begins a relationship with the Lord. Immediately after, she begins to tell her townspeople about this Lord she has encountered. John the Evangelist is teaching that personal encounter and evangelical fervor is the pattern of every discipleship life.
Even though many of us were baptized as children, at some point we made a personal commitment to be a disciple of Christ, like the woman did. And our commitment is also meant to be evangelical: We share with others the value we place on this relationship, and the hope and purpose it gives to our lives. We don’t keep this good news of the living water of a relationship with Christ to ourselves, hiding its light “under a bushel.” We adopt habits like regular reception of sacraments so that we can keep drinking this Living Water. We use this holy metaphor of living water liturgically when we use the sprinkling rite instead of the penitential rite to begin our Easter season Masses. We’ve all been that woman at the well, in a fog about life and its meaning, thirsting for something we needed to make sense of it all. Today I remember times when someone spoke words that were living water for me, that helped me have hope and strengthened my faith life. I remember Scripture passages that have meant much to me. This week I am going to find little ways to share a bit of my faith with at least one other person.
— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia