March 15

Reflection

The Gospel recounts the story of an encounter at a well between Jesus and a Samaritan woman. That they would speak to one another was highly unusual. But he  saw not a woman from a despised race but a person with basic goodness and the potential to be a disciple. He made a simple request:” Give me a drink”. She was astonished but strong enough to challenge him and then there followed an amazing conversation of mutual self-revelation. During the conversation, Jesus instructed her to call her husband, and asserted that she had had five husbands. The text does not tell us why she had five husbands. She could be a widow who married her brothers-in-law, according to the custom called levirate marriage; she could be a widow who married close kinsmen.  Whatever the reason, Jesus mentioned her husbands to show that he intimately knew her. Recognizing Jesus as a prophet, the woman took the opportunity to discuss differences between Jews and Samaritans. She confidently professed her belief in the coming of the Messiah, leading Jesus to reveal his identity to her. Elated and fired with enthusiasm she became a messenger of truth. She went to tell her neighbors about the mysterious stranger, and many of them believed “on the strength of her witness.” This gospel reveals the power of women preachers. The woman is an example of Christian witness and discipleship. Jesus’ invitation to this woman was countercultural and it sparked a transformative ministry to the Samaritans.

Prayer

May I not judge others on the basis of appearances and bias.

Action

Do you take the gospel seriously enough to reflect it and cause others to explore what it means? Do you judge other people on the basis of prejudice? Are you open to women as preachers of the gospel?

Suggested Reading

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 who is speaking with you.”
John 4:5-42

If you judge people you have no time to love them.
Mother Teresa

Prejudice cannot see the things that are because it is always looking for things that aren’t.
Mark Twain

Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.
Isaac Asimov

Judgments prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances.
Wayne W. Dyer

We need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion. This isn’t a matter of political correctness. It’s a matter of understanding what makes us strong.
Barack Obama

What the world needs most is openness: Open hearts, open doors, open eyes, open minds, open ears, open souls.
Robert Muller

Until the mind is open, the heart stays closed. The open mind is the key to the open heart.
Byron Katie

Tolerance, openness and understanding towards other peoples’ cultures, social structures, values and faiths are now essential to the very survival of an interdependent world.
Aga Khan I

I run
With the living water!
I run with the good news entrusted to me—
First witness of the Christ
Amongst us
Who broke the rules of exclusion
Who dared to speak to a woman,
Who asked a favor from such as me
Then chose me
The rejected one,
Chose me
The sinner,
Chose me
The woman to run,oh, so filled up,
With such good news.
Edwina Gatel

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