READINGS for 2008-02-24

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



It was about the sixth hour. – John 4:6
Why was the woman in the Gospel going to the well at high noon — the “sixth hour” in Jewish vocabulary? At that time, heat of the sun was bone-searing, making it a hundred times more difficult to carry a jarful to and fro.
        Answer: She was ashamed. She didn’t want anybody to see her. And that was the time of the day when nobody in his right mind goes to the well. She’s lived in with many men in her life but none she was married to. Her sin has brought guilt and guilt brought shame.
        Just when she thought that nobody was there, Jesus was. Just when Jewish customs prohibit men from talking to women, Jesus spoke to her. Just when Jews aren’t supposed to talk to Samaritans, Jesus offered friendship by asking for a drink from her cup. There she left not only her old jar but also her old life. She rushed back to her hometown with head lifted to the sky, undressed of the shame that clouded her empty soul and now clothed by the mercy and forgiveness of God. She went around telling people about the noontime show that changed her life.
        Have your sins caused you so much shame and pain? Leave them now! Come to Jesus. You may yet have the best noontime show of your life. Jon Escoto
Is it the noontime of your life yet? The Game Master waits at the well. The jackpot prize called “Eternal Springs of Living Water” has your name on it.
Lord, give me the courage to confess my sins to You that I may receive Your forgiveness and the dignity that comes from becoming Your child again.


It is understandable that the people need water to survive a journey through the desert. What is probably a little difficult for Moses and God to understand is the seeming lack of faith of the people that God will look after them. After all that God has done for them in freeing them from slavery in Egypt and saving them from the clutches of the pursuing Egyptian army, why do they still doubt God’s provision for their journey through the desert?
Exodus 17:3-7
3 In those days, in their thirst for water, the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt? Was it just to have us die here of thirst with our children and our livestock?” 4 So Moses cried out to the LORD, “What shall I do with this people? A little more and they will stone me!” 5 The LORD answered Moses, “Go over there in front of the people, along with some of the elders of Israel, holding in your hand, as you go, the staff with which you struck the river. 6 I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb. Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it for the people to drink.” This Moses did, in the presence of the elders of Israel. 7 The place was called Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled there and tested the LORD, saying, “Is the LORD in our midst or not?”
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
R: If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
1 Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD; let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation. 2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us joyfully sing psalm to him. (R) 6 Come, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the LORD who made us. 7 For he is our God, and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides. (R) Oh, that today you would hear his voice: 8 “Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the desert, 9 where your fathers tempted me; they tested me though they had seen my works.” (R)
Paul reflects upon the truth of God’s love for us. He comes to the conclusion that he cannot but entrust his life to a God that has demonstrated His love for us while we were still sinners. God does not wait for us to reform our lives before loving us. He loves us in order that we will be inspired to reform our lives.
Romans 5:1-2, 5-8
1 Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access [by faith] to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God. 5 And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us. 6 For Christ, while we were still helpless, yet died at the appointed time for the ungodly. 7 Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. 8 But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
Jesus’ interplay with the Samaritan woman at the well instructs us in the generosity and transforming power of His love. Through a mere conversation, the woman’s life is changed. This demonstrates that God is not really   interested in the various protocols of who should talk to who and when. He is interested in men and women learning to love one another with the love of God that is capable of transforming lives.
John 4:5-42
5 Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon. 7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” —For Jews use nothing in common with  Samaritans.— 10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?” 13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; 14 but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Go call your husband and come back.” 17 The woman answered and said to him, “I do not have a husband.” Jesus answered her, “You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’ 18 For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Anointed; when he comes, he will tell us everything.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking with you.” 27 At that moment his disciples returned, and were amazed that he was talking with a woman, but still no one said, “What are you looking for?” or “Why are you talking with her?” 28 The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, 29 “Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Messiah?” 30 They went out of the town and came to him. 31 Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Could someone have brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here’? I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest. 36 The reaper is already receiving his payment and gathering crops for eternal life, so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together. 37 For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for; others have done the work, and you are sharing the fruits of their work.” 39 Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me everything I have done.” 40 When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. 41 Many more began to believe in him because of his word, 42 and they said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”
my reflections
think: God does not wait for us to reform our lives before loving us. He loves us in order that we will be inspired to reform our lives.

God’s special verse/thought for me today________________

Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
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the KinGdoM’s doors are open for all

The Samaritan woman, upon hearing Jesus’ request for water, protested, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (John 4:9a). The woman’s reaction is borne from the animosity between Jews and Samaritans which goes a long, long way in their history.  Hence, Matthew annotates, “For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans (John 4:9b). Jesus did not allow such long history of enmity between their races to affect His dealings with her and, so, He continued to talk to her. What Jesus did was truly astonishing.
        William Barclay writes, “The Samaritan was a woman. The strict Rabbis forbade a Rabbi to greet a woman in public. A Rabbi might not even speak to his own wife or daughter or sister in public. There were even Pharisees who were called “the bruised and bleeding Pharisees” because they shut their eyes when they saw a woman on the street and so walked into walls and houses! For a Rabbi to be seen speaking to a woman in public was the end of his reputation — and yet Jesus spoke to this woman. Not only was she a woman; she was also a woman of notorious character. No decent man, let alone a Rabbi, would have been seen in her company, or even exchanging a word with her — and yet Jesus spoke to her.”
        This is truly a remarkable story. Jesus, who initially was convinced that His mission was solely for the lost sheep of Israel, has now consciously steered Himself to a totally different orientation. He has “opened” the doors of the kingdom for all.
        Here Jesus breaks down whatever it is that separates man from another—histories, race, gender, etc. This story actually concretizes the universality of His mission. His attempts to deal with an outsider made everyone an insider in the overall plan of God for man. Fr. Sandy Enhaynes
Reflection Question:
Do you build bridges or walls?
Jesus, teach me to reach out to the “outcasts” of society and embrace the poor in my midst that I may help in Your mission of uniting the faithful.
St. John Theristus, monk, pray for us.

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