Gospel – John 4:5-42

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there.
Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.
It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
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.
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.”
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?
Are you greater than our father Jacob,
who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself
with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her,
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;
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.”
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.”

Jesus said to her,
“Go call your husband and come back.”
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.’
For you have had five husbands,
and the one you have now is not your husband.
What you have said is true.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain;
but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus said to her,
“Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand;
we worship what we understand,
because salvation is from the Jews.
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.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him
must worship in Spirit and truth.”
The woman said to him,
“I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ;
when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her,
“I am he, the one speaking with you.”

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?”
The woman left her water jar
and went into the town and said to the people,
“Come see a man who told me everything I have done.
Could he possibly be the Christ?”
They went out of the town and came to him.
Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.”
But he said to them,
“I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
So the disciples said to one another,
“Could someone have brought him something to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“My food is to do the will of the one who sent me
and to finish his work.
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.
The reaper is already receiving payment
and gathering crops for eternal life,
so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together.
For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows and another reaps.’
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.”

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.”
When the Samaritans came to him,
they invited him to stay with them;
and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word,
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.”

Reflection by Mr. Jonathan Mangar of Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School, Brooklyn, NY

The passage from John’s Gospel in which Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well consists of different movements that mirror our own life stories with God. St. John, whose Gospel highlights the divinity of Jesus, tells us first that Jesus sat down at the well, tired and thirsty, at the same time that the woman came to draw water – a divine appointment willed by Jesus so that He could do something special in that woman’s life. He gave her a simple command, “Give me a drink.” Rather than obey right away, she asked a series of questions about why He wanted a drink from her and how He could get the “living water” He spoke of. This divine encounter was now filled with discernment of who God was to the woman in that moment and what exactly He asked of her.

Jesus responded with a promise – “Whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst.” The woman thought He was talking about simply satisfying bodily thirst. Jesus showed that He knew more than her bodily needs, though; He knew her heart and her past. This woman was a seeker. She asked Jesus about worship – maybe she was thirsty for more than water.

“True worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth” – in prayer and action – and the Father “seeks such people to worship Him,” says our Lord. In this declaration is the call to act for God and to respond to God, who lovingly seeks us out and calls us forth. In the woman’s listening and confessing that she knew and believed the Messiah would come, Jesus revealed Himself – “I am He.”

What did the woman do next? She lived out a vocation in response to her encounter with the Master. She told others about Him and invited them to see Him too – and they came. The woman, transformed, intrigued, and zealous for this Man who knew her whole life, lived out what Jesus meanwhile told His apostles: “My food” – Jesus’ own daily bread, His very life – “is to do the will of the One who sent Me and to finish His work.” Fulfilling the will of God leads to eternal Life where we, who work together with God to bring about His kingdom, will “rejoice together” with Him. Our ultimate vocation, born out of God’s pure love for His people, is to move between our own encounters with Him and our life with others so that they will know that Jesus is “truly the Savior of the world.”

Questions for Reflection

How do I acknowledge Jesus’ Lordship over my life?

How can I follow His call to bring the joy of knowing Him to others with whom I interact daily?

About Jonathan Mangar

Jonathan MangarJonathan Mangar teaches Spanish at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School, Brooklyn, NY. He serves as Vocation Promoter, is on the ministry committee, and has also taught religious studies. Jonathan converted to Catholicism as an adult and serves in his parish as a catechist, ministry coordinator, and Knight of Columbus. Jonathan is also a doctoral student investigating how togetherness is created among school leadership, faculty, and staff.