Third Sunday of Lent
The Story of the women at the well had profound significance for the early Christian community. This story was part of a series of important stories read and discussed by the catechumens, men and women who were seeking entrance into the Christian faith. This story relates who Jesus was for the community and its richness makes sense only when we understand the value of water. In the Middle East water was a precious commodity and its availability was scarce and efforts to attain water ranged between work and war.
When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well and compared himself to a source that kept on flowing at her back door, perhaps the only analogy that would make sense to us today would be the unlimited use of a credit card. And Jesus, and by extension the Christian community, reminded its catechumens that there was something bigger and better than plentiful water and credit cards.
Historians have asked the question why people became Christian since Christianity was one of many religious options in the Mediterranean during the first century AD. Although many historians would be loath to identify the salvific work of God in Christ in union with the Holy spirit as the source of the Church’s growth, historians do say that the example of the lives of Christians seemed to attract converts whose numbers swelled throughout the region and beyond.
What attracted men and women to the faith still does today. The two great commandments of Jesus, love of God and love of neighbor constantly remind us that although we need water and we must pay for food, there are greater values than these. Love of God and neighbor can inspire us and others towards a better world here and an even greater one to come.