Don Bosco Philippines South Province

Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippine South Province FIS

Encountering Jesus – 3rd Sunday of Lent

This Sunday’s gospel reading (Jn 4:5-42) presents to us the story of an unknown Samaritan woman who engaged in a conversation with Jesus. As a consequence, she was drawn to faith in Christ. Today, the Greek and Russian Orthodox Christians venerate her as a saint. They even gave her the name Photeine (Greek) or Svetlana (Russian) which means radiant or shining. She is praised by St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom as “the first apostle to the gentiles” who invited her neighbor to Christ. A legend preserved in Spain says that Photeine eventually went to Rome where she converted Nero’s daughter and a hundred of her servants. She became an indefatigable missionary for Jesus.
We can see in this gospel story a divine encounter which is the root cause of what she will become. In the gospels, Jesus met a lot of people. In meeting Christ, they were changed. We also see this pattern with the Samaritan woman. Jesus had a purpose in passing through Samaria. It was not accidental or circumstantial that he was at the well of Jacob. Jesus intended to encounter this Samaritan woman in order to make a significant contact with her and engage her in a conversation that will transform her. It was Jesus’ way of entering into her life even into her most private and embarrassing situation not to judge or condemn her but to be her Savior. At the start, Jesus begged water from her. But in the end, he gave her the living water that would quench her human thirst.
This encounter with Christ ignited a fire in her heart. At first she was surprised that this stranger had an intimate knowledge of her past. Her dialogue with Jesus revealed her spiritual thirst for something more that can fill her life. But her lifestyle showed that she was spiritually dead. Jesus’ words ignited new life and fervor in her that transformed her from being self-centered towards a slow process of self-emptying and service to the community. She was now ready to leave behind her water jar symbolizing her daily struggle for personal worth to make a shift turning her priorities upside down. The Samaritan woman took responsibility for her life and became Jesus’ disciple. Thus Jesus became the greatest thing to have ever happened in her life.

Prayer:Lord, lead me to a real encounter with you so that I can also initiate a process of self-emptying and inner transformation. Amen. 

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