God Changes Everything

3rd Sunday of Lent

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God changes Everything
3rd Sunday of Lent
Jesus and the Woman at the Well
Jesus and the Woman at the Well

Picture courtesy of Irish Dominicans

Yesterday we read the story about the Christian car salesman. Did you spend some time thinking about your own work situation and what Jesus might ask you to change about it or what you could do better? We should all be doing our work as if we were doing it for the Lord? Today we have a very long Gospel Reading so the others will be very short.

Living Water at the Well

Our gospel reading is about Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the Well. The things that I find most encouraging about this is encounter is that this is the first person to whom Jesus himself actually announces that he is the Messiah, and it is to a gentile. Not just any gentile but a Samaritan whose race was generally despised by the Jews. Not only was she a gentile and a Samaritan but a woman, a woman who has had many husbands, who is currently living in sin, so much so that she herself is ashamed of her position and comes to the well to get water in the heat of the day. Who in their right mind would be out in the heat of day in a desert country drawing water from a well? Normally this would be done in the cool of early morning or in early evening. This is a woman who is possibly despised by her own people. Jesus made it clear he knew all this and yet he talked with her, revealing exactly who He is, and changed everything for her.

Our reading says, ‘He had to go through Samaria.’ Technically Jesus didn’t have to go through Samaria to get to Galilee. While it was the most direct route for him to travel, many religious Jews would refuse to go that way and take the longer route to avoid Samaria. And in fact in his previous journey Jesus had avoided Samaria. So what do you think John might have meant by writing, “He had to go through Samaria?”

The relationship between the Jews and the Samaritans was difficult. In fact it was similar to the relationship today between Israelites and Palestinians.

'Historian Josephus reports a number of unpleasant events: Samaritans harass Jewish pilgrims traveling through Samaria between Galilee and Judea, Samaritans scatter human bones in the Jerusalem sanctuary, and Jews in turn burn down Samaritan villages. The very notion of “the good Samaritan” (Luke 10:25-37) only makes sense in a context in which Samaritans were viewed with suspicion and hostility by Jews in and around Jerusalem.'Professor Jürgen K. Zangenberg,
Leiden University
www.bibleodyssey.org

With this background Jesus seems to have gone out of his way – deliberately seeking out the Samaritans, just as he deliberately seeks out us. He shocks and surprises the woman, blind-siding her with the gift of knowledge (showing he knows her past and her position) revealing his authority and the encounter changes her life from that moment. Clearly she believes his words and that changes her inside, instead of hiding herself not wanting to encounter anyone in her village (visiting the well in the heat of the day) she rushes back to village and tells eve-ryone, not caring that she may not be believed or maybe reviled, ignored and insulted. That is a huge instant transformation, she is so changed that the people recognize it and listen.

Jesus deliberately went to the Samaritans out of love, God changes everything, God is Love and love changes everything! I am watching with prayer and gladness as New Zealand’s message of Love for our Muslim brothers and sisters and in fact all the different minorities and peoples that make up our society reaches out into the global world as an example.