Water: Third Sunday in Lent

Third Sunday in Lent Year A

RCL: Exodus 17:1-7, Psalm 95, Romans 5:1-11, and John 4:5-52

Remembering the Women highlights John 4:5-52

The Revised Common Lectionary seems to be connecting these passages with the idea of living water.  There is something about physical thirst that reminds us of spiritual thirst.  Having easy access to clean drinking water is important for survival and having access to Jesus, being able to worship in spirit and in truth, is important in the life of a Christian.  

The woman at the well is thirsty in the physical and spiritual sense.  She is looking for water and truth.  She is giving water to Christ and filling her spiritual cup with this conversation she is having with him.

Jesus does not pass moral judgement on the women, although many commentators have.  Perhaps she is like Tamar in Genesis 38.  I think the discussion of this woman’s past has more to do with John wanting to prove that Jesus knows everything, made everything, and is God.  (Think about the opening of this gospel).  And Jesus knowing things about her that a stranger wouldn’t know is proof to her that he is a prophet.  She’s not a slut.

This woman has a theological conversation with Jesus (and holds her own).  She understands why Samaritans and Jews worship in different places.  She is looking forward to the Messiah coming… and she realizes that Jesus is the Messiah.  She’s no dummy.

So much of the advice given to clergy or other care givers is about filling your own cup.  You can’t pour from an empty cup.  This typically means, taking care of yourself (mind, body, spirit) before you give care to others.  This woman filled her cup (literally drinking water and participating in the theological discussion, her spiritual cup) with Jesus and then went out to tell others about him and invite them to talk to him too.  

She’s not a dumb slut.  She is a wise disciple and preacher. 

Check out this article from Women’s Ordination Worldwide[1]


[1] Founded in 1996 at the First European Women’s Synod in Austria, Women’s Ordination Worldwide (WOW) is an ecumenical network of national and international groups whose primary mission at this time is the admission of Roman Catholic women to all ordained ministries.

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