– Leaving our Jars Behind –

We’re now beginning our 3rd week of Lent, and the story of the Samaritan woman at the well speaks much as to how we actually progress in our spiritual life. This serves as a timely aid for our journey over the 40 days of Lent.

I’d like to focus on the Samaritan woman in the Gospel story. Much like most of us at some time in our lives, she isn’t living up to God’s expectations. When she first meets Jesus, she is going about her typical daily routine. She is burdened by life itself. She needs water and this water must be carried over a long distance in the heat of the day. Amid all this, she stumbles upon Jesus when arriving at the well with her water jar. She has no knowledge of the man that she is talking to other than that He is a Jew, which is the name that she uses to address Him. That is the limit of her relationship with Jesus – he’s just a man.

This is where we all begin our spiritual journey. We begin with knowledge about the “man” named Jesus and that knowledge causes us to pause, reflect, and most importantly, it forces us to make a choice, a choice to continue our journey towards Him or not.

After her initial encounter with Jesus, the Samaritan woman chooses to continue in learning more about this “Jew” and we begin to see a change in how she views Jesus; she now calls Him “sir.” As the woman more deeply interacts with Jesus, we see another transformation come about. In her dialogue with Him, she discovers that He is more than just a “Jew” or a “man.” She now learns through her encounter with Him that He is a “prophet”. Shortly after this, she comes to the realization that Jesus is not only a prophet, but the Messiah, at which point she experiences a dramatic change in her life. She leaves her water jar behind for the more important task of sharing her personal encounter with Christ to the whole community. Interiorly, she is freed from the stress and physical burden of life and shares this joy with others. In this light, the story of the Samaritan woman is a model for all of us to follow.

The Samaritan woman shows all of us how we can grow and progress in our spiritual life. She teaches us that the best way to journey to Christ is to spend time with Him.  In the story, we see that the longer the woman talks with Jesus, the more time that she spends in His presence, the more she grows in her faith. This causes us to reflect on how much of our time do we spend with God? How much time do we spend in prayer, reading Scripture, or receive his very self through reception of the most Holy Eucharist? The season of Lent is the perfect time to be making progress on achieving this spiritual goal.

The story of this woman, who initially does not know Jesus, begins with her burden of carrying her water jar each day to the well. She has a thirst (physical). After she comes to accept Jesus into her life, she leaves the jar behind because she now thirsts for the greater and more important task of spreading the Good News about Jesus. This is how we are called to live out the Joy of the Gospel. When we develop a close, intimate relationship with our Lord, the burden of life is lifted from our souls and our spirits are free to do the Lord’s work on earth. May the Samaritan woman serve to inspire all of us this Lent and may we all experience a profound encounter with our Lord so that we can be empowered to be worthy disciples and perform great works in His most Holy name.


Deacon Bob Laquerre