Sunday reflection: John 4:5-42

posted at 10:01 am on March 23, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

“Sunday Reflection” is a regular feature, looking at the specific readings used in today’s Mass in Catholic parishes around the world. The reflection only represents my own point of view, intended to help prepare myself for the Lord’s day and perhaps spark a meaningful discussion. Previous Sunday Reflections from the main page can be found here For previous Green Room entries, click here.

Today’s Gospel reading is 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.”

In today’s Gospel, we have one of the most momentous and instructive passages in Scripture — the Samaritan woman at the well. The lessons learned from the fourth chapter of John could take an entire semester to unpack, but for now we’ll look at this as a model of prayer, conversion, and evangelization.

Why a model of prayer? See how the exchange starts: Jesus initiates the conversation with the woman by asking her to give him a drink. The Samaritan woman reacts in surprise, knowing that the Israelites consider Samaritans entirely unworthy and idolatrous, and marvels that a Jewish teacher would deign to contact her. This encapsulates the exchange of the gift of faith and the humility with which it should be received. Prayer is the conversation between the sinner and God which God always initiates with the gift of faith, a gift given to even the most unworthy if they are humble and penitent to receive it.

The woman does humble herself at the first contact with Jesus, but is unclear what to do next, having no way to offer Him what he asks. Jesus instead tells her that she should ask for the gifts of “living water,” which we know as the Holy Spirit. Jesus wants a prayer of petition, one specifically asking to be filled with the “wellspring” of salvation and eternal life.

The Samaritan woman then offers a prayer of petition, but Jesus is not done teaching her how to pray. He asks the woman to call her husband, knowing full well she has lived a sinful life. She confesses her sin, and offers praise. Jesus then gives her insight into how to pray, which then leads her to inquire about salvation. Jesus then does a remarkable thing — he tells the Samaritan woman that He is the Messiah whom she seeks, revealing Himself even though Jesus has only done so with the disciples at this point. In fact, in John 4:26, Jesus uses “I am he” to identify himself as Messiah, a construct normally avoided by pious Jews as it echoes God’s identification to Moses.  Armed with this rare gift of knowledge before the Resurrection, the Samaritan woman experiences a conversion of her heart and goes out and evangelizes in her community, converting many others.

This is a model of prayer, but also a model of hope and salvation for all — and our mission. God opens the conversation of prayer and faith and waits for us to respond, even at our most wretched, as the Samaritans were considered in those days. We are called to respond with humility, gratitude, praise, and petitions to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that we make disciples of all nations. The Samaritan woman does all of this in response to Jesus’ call, which comes completely as a gift. If we answer when God calls, we are no longer rejected but embraced by God.

Contrast this to the response to thirst in our first reading, Exodus 17:3-7, when the Israelites began to run out of water in the desert. Here again, God has started the call to faith and conversion with the Passover and the liberation of the slaves into freedom, only the Israelites have not yet humbled themselves or opened their hearts to God. Instead, they demand that God pass a test, while His prophet Moses worries that he has a full-fledged revolt on his hands. Keep in mind, too, that the people had already demanded a test of God with the bitter waters of Shur (Ex 15:22-26) where the Lord promised to take care of Israel, and again in Exodus 16, when the Lord fed them manna after they complained about a lack of food and longed for slavery over freedom. And even then, the Israelites broke the commandment and tried to glean manna on the Sabbath (Ex 16:27-30). Clearly, this was not a nation that wanted to hear about much of anything except bread and water of this world, rather than of eternal salvation.

Here we have two very different responses to the call of faith. The nation of Israel repeatedly rejected it, repeatedly lamenting their departure from death and slavery rather than trust in the God that freed them, while the Samaritan woman immediately embraces Jesus’ call and goes out to free others. The irony of that juxtaposition would not have been lost on the disciples, who started with the presumption that salvation would only belong to the Jews, and should not be lost on us, either. Nor is this the only time in the Gospels where this irony occurs. In Matthew 8:5-13, the response of the Roman centurion (another outsider despised by the Israelites) in faith causes Jesus to marvel,“Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” The centurion’s statement of faith is paraphrased in the Liturgy of the Eucharist: ““Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed.”

Salvation is freely available to all who choose it in response to God’s call to faith. Which would we choose with our gift of free will — the difficult path of faith and salvation, or test God with our unbelief? For me, I’ve certainly done both in my life, and probably a lot more of the latter than the former over the years. At times, I have forgotten the moments of true connection with God and chosen to act as if He had never worked in my life. At other times, I have followed God but with plenty of grumbling about the apparent paucity of response to my petitions and longed for the slavery of sin and the idolatry of material goods. In those periods, I gave God only grudging worship, and only to the extent that it served my own selfish purposes.

The absurdity of this is easily seen. Jesus says to me, Hey, here’s eternal joy and life, along with freedom from the slavery of sin and the material world. My response too often is Yeah, yeah, yeah, why haven’t you given me the winning Powerball numbers yet? Because I’m not just going to trust you to provide, you know. And I wouldn’t mind getting my hair back, too, while you’re at it. And yet, Jesus continues to offer the gift of faith, and asking us to provide him a drink by accepting it with glad hearts.

Let’s return once again to the episode at the well for one final point of context. Jesus asks the woman at the beginning of this passage to give him a drink after being “tired from his journey,” and yet by the end of it Jesus refuses any refreshment at all from His disciples. Instead, Jesus says, “I have food of which you do not know,” explaining, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish His work.” He has been refreshed by the Samaritan woman’s embrace of His Word. This seeming contradiction echoes later in the Gospel, when Jesus cries out on the cross, “I thirst.” Jesus is sustained not by food in this context but true conversion and evangelization — which the Samaritan woman provides Jesus in exchange for the gift of faith granted freely and undeservingly, as it is to all of us as well.

Jesus continues to cry out, “I thirst.” Which answer will we give?


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”

And for all that Christ never got his drink of water and the woman even left her jar at the well.

But seriously, let’s remember that the healing and hope we receive seldom comes in the form in which we’ve prayed for it.

Happy Nomad on March 23, 2014 at 10:15 AM

by the time christ came the Samaritans made covenants with five kingdoms these were not actual husband she had

rico101 on March 23, 2014 at 10:18 AM

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.

But aren’t Christians racist, misogynistic?

davidk on March 23, 2014 at 10:34 AM

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.

But aren’t Christians racist, misogynistic?

davidk on March 23, 2014 at 10:35 AM

The absurdity of this is easily seen. Jesus says to me, Hey, here’s eternal joy and life, along with freedom from the slavery of sin and the material world. My response too often is Yeah, yeah, yeah, why haven’t you given me the winning Powerball numbers yet? Because I’m not just going to trust you to provide, you know. And I wouldn’t mind getting my hair back, too, while you’re at it. And yet, Jesus continues to offer the gift of faith, and asking us to provide him a drink by accepting it with glad hearts.

Good paragraph. The problem today, opponents require you to produce God. Not because they really want to see him, but because they know no one has that dominion over God. I think sometimes we’re as bad as Christians. Asking for things, as you write, but then we don’t accept the very real answer of refusal from God.

Great mediation, Ed.

hawkdriver on March 23, 2014 at 10:37 AM

What version is this Ed?

nobar on March 23, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Here we have two very different responses to the call of faith. The nation of Israel repeatedly rejected it, repeatedly lamenting their departure from death and slavery rather than trust in the God that freed them, while the Samaritan woman immediately embraces Jesus’ call and goes out to free others. The irony of that juxtaposition would not have been lost on the disciples, who started with the presumption that salvation would only belong to the Jews, and should not be lost on us, either.

Twice in the New Testament, Samaritans humble the Israelites. The originally Jewish Samaritans had intermarried with pagans and combined pagan rituals with Jewish ones. Thus, the Samaritans were considered heretics.

The Good Samaritan stopped to help the injured man, while the priest and Levite walked by (in all fairness, for those two to touch a dead body would have made them unclean and unable to perform their jobs at the Temple until cleansed). The Samaritan didn’t know who the victim was, since the victim’s clothes (often an identifier) were stolen. He simply helped a human in need.

That the Samaritans could show more faith than the Israelites was food for thought to Christ’s listeners. “And the last shall be first.”

Wethal on March 23, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Spiritual nourishment versus physical nourishment.

I do the same things, Mr. Morrissey….long for earthly things yet seem to lose sight of the infinite value of spiritual and heavenly things. Perhaps that’s just part of the influence of the society in which we live, where so little (if any) emphasis is placed on the value of the human spirit and soul while an excessive amount of influence is placed on desires of the flesh.

Or maybe it’s about this….

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.”

Goes hand in hand with “Be ye not deceived, for God is not to be mocked; whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” Most people think of that verse only in the context of consequences, but it applies to blessings as well. A reminder that we can choose to sow the kind of seed that will reap blessings (which, of course, Satan does not want us to succeed in doing). We may not be the ones to reap that seed, but we should still seek to sow it all the same.

Nice passage. You’re right…there are many things to think of in this passage of Scripture.

Thanks again for the testimony and witness.

lineholder on March 23, 2014 at 10:51 AM

When countries had invaded and conquered the nation of Israel, most of the Jews were taken captive and brought to the conquering nations land. The conquerors left behind people to rule and guard the lands. The few Jews that were left in Israel intermarried with the conquerors.

God had forbade the Israelis from marrying people of other nations because of the religious influences of those peoples. At the time of this passage from the Bible, the Samaritans, who had intermarried with outsiders were considered as bad or even worse than gentiles (whom the the Jews called dogs).

Jews simply would not have anything to do with Samaritans. So, Jesus’ interacting with her was a major deal.

I don’t know to what rico101 refers. The Samaritans were a subjugated group who were in no position to enter into covenants with anyone.

davidk on March 23, 2014 at 10:51 AM

conquering nation’s

davidk on March 23, 2014 at 10:54 AM

davidk on March 23, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Very much enjoy and learn from your comments on the reflection threads.

hawkdriver on March 23, 2014 at 10:55 AM

What version is this Ed?

nobar on March 23, 2014 at 10:45 AM

I think it’s from “Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition” which uses the New American Bible, revised edition.

kcewa on March 23, 2014 at 11:21 AM

Ed, thank you for this fine work.

Mason on March 23, 2014 at 11:37 AM

In fact, in John 4:26, Jesus uses “I am he” to identify himself as Messiah, a construct normally avoided by pious Jews as it echoes God’s identification to Moses.

When God had commissioned Moses to lead the Israelis out of Egypt, Moses asked God, “Who shall I say sent me.” God replied, “I AM that I AM.”

In John’s Gospel Jesus is recorded over 40 times as saying “I am … .” As Ed points out, that construct was typically avoided by the Jew.

Of those 40+ occurrences a little over half are “emphatic” some being “absolute” others “predicate.”

By using the absolute emphatic, Jesus clearly claims to be “I AM that I AM,” the God Self-identified in the Old Testament. Here, with the Woman at the Well, Jesus uses the absolute emphatic.

Another incident where Jesus uses the absolute emphatic is in the eighth chapter of John. He told the Jews, “Before Abraham was born, I am!”

The Jews knew exactly what He was claiming. Thinking Jesus guilty of blasphemy, making Himself equal to God, picked up stones to kill Him.

davidk on March 23, 2014 at 11:45 AM

hawkdriver on March 23, 2014 at 10:55 AM

Than you.

davidk on March 23, 2014 at 11:46 AM

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.”

A literal translation would be “I am, the one speaking with you.”

davidk on March 23, 2014 at 11:50 AM

Prayer is the conversation between the sinner and God which God always initiates with the gift of faith, a gift given to even the most unworthy if they are humble and penitent to receive it.

Where does that humility and penitence come from, the recipient of the gift of faith?

St. Paul didn’t say “By stirring up your own humility and penitence you are saved, through faith.” He said, “…by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Eph. 2:8-9.

Ed, are humility and penitence works, or fruit of the Spirit and therefore also gifts of God?

Akzed on March 23, 2014 at 11:52 AM

The Good Samaritan stopped to help the injured man, while the priest and Levite walked by (in all fairness, for those two to touch a dead body would have made them unclean and unable to perform their jobs at the Temple until cleansed). Wethal on March 23, 2014 at 10:47 AM

He wasn’t dead. They were.

Israelites were not forbidden from touching a dead body, it’s just that there were ceremonial procedures required for having done so. Jesus’ disciples touched His body without religious compuntion.

Akzed on March 23, 2014 at 11:56 AM

Great reflection. Further, the 3rd Sunday of Lent also celebrates an RCIA candidate’s First Scrutiny to allow the candidate a moment to discern their entry into the church. (RCIA – the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is a Catholic mission for people ranging from the unbaptized to sacramentally incomplete cradle Catholics to enter into the Church at the Easter Vigil Mass.) The woman at the well has a more storied past than merely having multiple husbands and unmarried cohabitation. The Samaritan woman, very likely, has Jewish lineage herself. Samaria was a station geographically between Northern Kingdom of Assyrians and the Southern Kingdom of Babylonians following Jewish diaspora in the 6th Century BC. There is still a Samarian population today as Holy Land visitors learn during their pilgrimages. Jesus’ action with this woman was a baptism: “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 was employed to spread the Good word about the Messiah and for uniting Israel with the Messiah from the position of being between two kingdoms. The appropriateness of this account on First Scrutiny, while Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, for RCIA candidates who will enter the Church on the Easter Vigil cannot be discounted.

This is merely the tip of the iceberg in unpacking John’s account. This is evangelizing at its purest.

ericdijon on March 23, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Sam Cooke & Soul Stirrers – Jesus Gave Me Water

kcewa on March 23, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Enjoyed that.

davidk on March 23, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Thank you for your beautiful reflection, Ed.

It and the always interesting comments from everybody make this one of my favorite features at HA.

PatriotGal2257 on March 23, 2014 at 12:12 PM

The absurdity of this is easily seen. Jesus says to me, Hey, here’s eternal joy and life, along with freedom from the slavery of sin and the material world. My response too often is Yeah, yeah, yeah, why haven’t you given me the winning Powerball numbers yet? Because I’m not just going to trust you to provide, you know. And I wouldn’t mind getting my hair back, too, while you’re at it. And yet, Jesus continues to offer the gift of faith, and asking us to provide him a drink by accepting it with glad hearts.

My collie says:

You are hereby awarded 10 collie points for honesty. Now if we could only get Allah and Jazz to admit that their respective attitudes SUCK.

Based on this passage, one might surmise that Jesus of Nazareth was the first true advocate of women’s liberation. And He did it some ~2000 years BEFORE the satanic, abortion-peddling skanks of this modern age were even born. Surprised? I’m not. Need I also remind everyone that it was the conservative Republican Christians of Wyoming that gave women the right to vote MORE THAN 50 YEARS before the federal government passed the 19th amendment to the constitution — which gave women the right to vote in federal elections. And for an encore, they also elected the first woman governor in U.S. history.

CyberCipher on March 23, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Italian singing nun on The Voice of Italy

I had put this on another thread, but it’s really more appropriate here and fits in with certain portions of this passage…the portion about reaping what is sown, and sowing for others to reap.

When the spirit of things evil is high in the society in which we live, it’s natural for people of faith to try to battle against that force. In doing so, we can come across as being hyper-negative. People can take this as an attack against them personally, which even though this isn’t how it is intended, it sets up their back. We seem to forget about things that display happiness and joy of our faith, or about being of service to others. Both of which are as much about “sowing seeds” as fighting against things of evil.

To see a singing nun in a competition like The Voice…I can’t say that I’m in full agreement with it being the appropriate venue, but I can see how sharing gifts and talents can be a means of sharing the joy and happiness of God’s gift of life. How it is sown matters as much as what it sown.

In my own life, I forget to use my talents for the purpose of conveying the joy of my faith. That’s something I’ll have to focus on more.

lineholder on March 23, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Contrast this to the response to thirst in our first reading, Exodus 17:3-7,

Don’t even have to go that far. Contrast and compare with John 8:31-59, essentially the exact same conversation with one difference: The attitude of the recipients of the message.

The parallels are striking : “Are you greater than our father Abraham…” and “Are you greater than our father Jacob…”

“I who speak to you am He” and ” Before Abraham was, I am”

both conversations end at the same point; one for salvation and one for judgment. One is being honest and asking questions; one is being dishonest and questioning things. Jesus is in control of both.

She receives what He says and deals honestly with it, so He gives her more, leading her to salvation. The “Jews who had believed in Him” are being dishonest and playing games, so Jesus deals accordingly, leading to judgment.

Models for evangelism. The two types of recipients.

I’m just saying.

Cleombrotus on March 23, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Italian singing nun on The Voice of Italy

lineholder on March 23, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Thank you for posting this and for your testimony.

(In case anyone doesn’t know: you can click on the CC button at the bottom right of the video for English captions)

kcewa on March 23, 2014 at 12:28 PM

What version is this Ed?

nobar on March 23, 2014 at 10:45 AM

I think it’s from “Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition” which uses the New American Bible, revised edition.

kcewa on March 23, 2014 at 11:21 AM

That’s right. In my personal use I prefer the Ignatian Bible (just a personal preference and nothing more), but I get the Sunday Reflections Scripture directly from the NAB Lectionary. Apple has a fine app for that called iMissal, which is what I use to copy and paste it each week.

Ed Morrissey on March 23, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Thank you Ed. Look fw to this every week…

OmahaConservative on March 23, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Another musical version

He didn’t tell her, go to RCIA for several months, get 5 annulments, etc…but that’s what the Church says. Sometimes it seems like the Church is there to setup laws to replace the ones He freed us from. He Himself was – is – enough to bring life-giving change to people without legalism.

sloopy on March 23, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Very much enjoy and learn from your comments on the reflection threads.

hawkdriver on March 23, 2014 at 10:55 AM

…from numerous people!…even from what ‘some guy’ posted…at 10:37 AM.

KOOLAID2 on March 23, 2014 at 1:02 PM

The absurdity of this is easily seen. Jesus says to me, Hey, here’s eternal joy and life, along with freedom from the slavery of sin and the material world. My response too often is Yeah, yeah, yeah, why haven’t you given me the winning Powerball numbers yet? Because I’m not just going to trust you to provide, you know. And I wouldn’t mind getting my hair back, too, while you’re at it. And yet, Jesus continues to offer the gift of faith, and asking us to provide him a drink by accepting it with glad hearts.

Good paragraph. The problem today, opponents require you to produce God. Not because they really want to see him, but because they know no one has that dominion over God. I think sometimes we’re as bad as Christians. Asking for things, as you write, but then we don’t accept the very real answer of refusal from God.

Great mediation, Ed.

hawkdriver on March 23, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Contrast this to the response to thirst in our first reading, Exodus 17:3-7,

Don’t even have to go that far. Contrast and compare with John 8:31-59, essentially the exact same conversation with one difference: The attitude of the recipients of the message.

The parallels are striking : “Are you greater than our father Abraham…” and “Are you greater than our father Jacob…”

“I who speak to you am He” and ” Before Abraham was, I am”

both conversations end at the same point; one for salvation and one for judgment. One is being honest and asking questions; one is being dishonest and questioning things. Jesus is in control of both.

She receives what He says and deals honestly with it, so He gives her more, leading her to salvation. The “Jews who had believed in Him” are being dishonest and playing games, so Jesus deals accordingly, leading to judgment.

Models for evangelism. The two types of recipients.

I’m just saying.

Cleombrotus on March 23, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Matthew (chapter 16) gives Jesus’ answer to the Pharisees and the Sadducees when they “tested” (challenged) Him. He called them an “evil and adulterous generation.”

earlier John the Baptizer’s disciples had come to Jesus and asked Him a similar question. (Matthew 11)

John had baptized Jesus and knew Who He was. The Pharisees and the Sadducees should have known. But Jesus told John’s disciple, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

John the Baptizer had called out the ruler Herod about his adultery and was thrown into prison. Prisons then were dark, dank, unsanitary dungeons. One can understand John’s wavering faith. “I’m putting my life on the line here, Jesus. Are you really the One?”

Jesus showed him mercy.

We certainly need to examine our hearts and motives when approaching God with our questions. And, to whom much is given, much is required.

davidk on March 23, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Most people miss the bigger picture here. Christ sent his disciples out only to Jews and then only the to the House of Israel. This is further evidenced when Peter stands up at Pentecost and addresses only the people of Israel. It is even further demonstrated when Peter is called to explain later why he dealt with and ate with Gentiles. All of this was done away with after Paul was raised up. It’s all in the book of Acts, and it is in Matthew showing the limitation of the disciples being sent to the House of Israel.

The Samaritans were of mixed blood having married into Gentile families. That is why they were frowned upon. The passage shows that even though the original audience was Jewish for the gospel (and which gospel would that be?), the Gentiles would eventually be included. Look at the last paragraph. It shows that Christ stayed with the Samaritans for two days teaching.

Even though Christ died for all he was sent to fulfill the Mosaic law which was only given to Israel to be obeyed in the land of Israel. That is why He limited His ministry to Israel with the exception of Samaritan contact. It wasn’t until Paul became an apostle that Gentiles were included apart from the salvation of Israel. That is the mystery that Paul teaches about. Christ’s teaching of the Samaritans is a fore bearer of what was to happen when Israel rejected its Messiah. Salvation was to be then sent to Jew and Gentile alike with no difference between them.

HiJack on March 23, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Where are you finding the clip-art for the SR, Ed?

OmahaConservative on March 23, 2014 at 1:30 PM

HiJack on March 23, 2014 at 1:15 PM

http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/beck/universal.html

davidk on March 23, 2014 at 1:32 PM

HiJack on March 23, 2014 at 1:15 PM

I have to disagree a bit. The entire moneychangers incident expresses the deep desire for Jesus and even of other Jewish leaders of the time to reach out to non-Jews. There were convert Gentiles.

Given the hierarchy of access in the Temple, the outer areas (courtyard) where the tables were upset and the moneychangers chased out, was an area of limited access for non-Jews. Aside from lessor sacrifices being offered for less money, and outright cheating by the moneychangers, Gentile converts were also charged an increased amount for their sacrifices. All of this led to this one point of expressed wrath by Jesus. Protecting Gentiles and their access to the Temple was part of it.

hawkdriver on March 23, 2014 at 1:36 PM

I have to disagree a bit. The entire moneychangers incident expresses the deep desire for Jesus and even of other Jewish leaders of the time to reach out to non-Jews. There were convert Gentiles.

Given the hierarchy of access in the Temple, the outer areas (courtyard) where the tables were upset and the moneychangers chased out, was an area of limited access for non-Jews. Aside from lessor sacrifices being offered for less money, and outright cheating by the moneychangers, Gentile converts were also charged an increased amount for their sacrifices. All of this led to this one point of expressed wrath by Jesus. Protecting Gentiles and their access to the Temple was part of it.

hawkdriver on March 23, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Yes, Hawk, I agree with you, but those Gentiles were proselytes; conversions to Jews. Paul’s ministry was to be for all without having to be or become a Jew. Free salvation.

HiJack on March 23, 2014 at 1:43 PM

HiJack on March 23, 2014 at 1:15 PM

http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/beck/universal.html

davidk on March 23, 2014 at 1:32 PM

I’m not sure if you’re agreeing or disagreeing with me here, but the link is a good one and very useful for a number of applications. I’ve bookmarked it. Thanks for the reference!

This passage of the Samaritan woman, regardless of how we may view it, shows how Christ forthrightly and deftly deals with those who are different than Him. In many ways we are to follow His example, and this is but one of them most aptly displayed.

HiJack on March 23, 2014 at 1:48 PM

This is my first post to HotAir…..and may be the only one as I don’t post much.
Here goes. I believe there is a tendency to apply scripture to material wants and desires. In September 2000 I was starting to be swallowed by debt. I was in the yard raking leaves wondering what I should do. Yes, credit cards (mostly) and student loans for the kids (they had half and I had half). Out of nowhere, and not in my head but beside me loudly came a kind male voice, “Get your house in order”. The voice did not frighten me but actually calmed me. And financially I did by going cold turkey off cards and refinanced everything the following month. All was paid off last year. Had I not done so, I would be homeless now – husband lost his job in 2008.
However, that said, I don’t think the house that I had to get in order was my literal house, though that was a blessing, but my soul. I’m still working on that. I wasn’t wretched by today’s standards though that’s not saying much, but I was falling into a pit. This is much harder that straightening out my finances. Envy and pride are the hardest to overcome.
I’ve just watched a couple movies on Netflix – ‘The Encounter’ and ‘The Encounter, Paradise Lost’. The acting is so so but I found the messages powerful. These helped open my eyes.
And yes, today’s sermon was very good, made better now that I listen.

anachrotech on March 23, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Yes, Hawk, I agree with you, but those Gentiles were proselytes; conversions to Jews. Paul’s ministry was to be for all without having to be or become a Jew. Free salvation.

HiJack on March 23, 2014 at 1:43 PM

HiJack, I think the point of davidk’s link was the ministry to the Canaanite woman and her daughter. Jesus also said in Matthew 28:19 to teach “to all nations”.

I suppose we have to ask ourselves what God Jesus was speaking of when he in my father’s house there are many rooms. It’s the same God both before and after his death.

And Jesus ministered as a Rabbi. He was admonished by the some of the Sanhedrin for who he ministered to. He also spoke of other flocks of sheep in John. I guess I’m wondering if you thought Paul made an expressed decision counter to the desires of Jesus when he converted non-Jews. I mean, for Jesus’s time what would he convert someone to before Christianity had been established with his death and resurrection?

hawkdriver on March 23, 2014 at 2:03 PM

anachrotech on March 23, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Wow. This is a nice comment. It would be good to hear more of your thoughts.

hawkdriver on March 23, 2014 at 2:05 PM

I think it’s interesting to contrast the response of the Samaritan woman and that of the rich young ruler to encountering Jesus. It makes me wonder about my own response.

In both cases Jesus lovingly spoke of their sin. But they responded differently:

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?”

as contrasted with:

Mark 10:21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But at these words [a]he was saddened, and he went away grieving…

kcewa on March 23, 2014 at 2:12 PM

This is my first post to HotAir…..and may be the only one as I don’t post much.
Here goes. I believe there is a tendency to apply scripture to material wants and desires. In September 2000 I was starting to be swallowed by debt. I was in the yard raking leaves wondering what I should do. Yes, credit cards (mostly) and student loans for the kids (they had half and I had half). Out of nowhere, and not in my head but beside me loudly came a kind male voice, “Get your house in order”. The voice did not frighten me but actually calmed me. And financially I did by going cold turkey off cards and refinanced everything the following month. All was paid off last year. Had I not done so, I would be homeless now – husband lost his job in 2008.
However, that said, I don’t think the house that I had to get in order was my literal house, though that was a blessing, but my soul. I’m still working on that. I wasn’t wretched by today’s standards though that’s not saying much, but I was falling into a pit. This is much harder that straightening out my finances. Envy and pride are the hardest to overcome.
I’ve just watched a couple movies on Netflix – ‘The Encounter’ and ‘The Encounter, Paradise Lost’. The acting is so so but I found the messages powerful. These helped open my eyes.
And yes, today’s sermon was very good, made better now that I listen.

anachrotech on March 23, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Thanks for sharing.

One time I was listening to Charles Stanley. He said, “God spoke to me–no, it wasn’t audible. It was much louder than that.”

Glad to hear of a testimony of God’s speaking audibly. People will think you are nuts or lying. It take a bit of courage to tell of that kind of experience. Thanks again.

davidk on March 23, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Thank you for another great post, Ed. I really enjoy reading these.

dogsoldier on March 23, 2014 at 2:13 PM

anachrotech on March 23, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Love it, thanks for adding your story.

Shay on March 23, 2014 at 2:13 PM

No, Hawk, it was Paul’s ministry to now include non-Jews. Paul’s apostleship shows that God’s program changed, but it was a planned change that God held in secret until Israel rejected her Messiah; the mystery. There are major differences between Peter’s ministry and Paul’s even though they both teach that Christ saved us all. I suggest doing some research there. It’s an eye-opener. By the way, before Christ’s death the saving message was that Christ was Messiah and that His promised kingdom was at hand. After Christ’s death it was still that Christ was Messiah and that the nation should repent and He would return to judge the nations. After Israel rejected Christ yet again by stoning Stephen, THEN Paul was raised up to preach salvation by grace to all. So, Paul’s converting non-Jews was in line with his ministry which was a different one than what Peter and the twelve’s. Same Christ, different message. It’s all there to compare. But Christ in his ministry demonstrated that he came for all when, on exception, He walked outside his bounds of the House of Israel and approached Gentiles as demonstrated in this passage on this thread. It’s all extremely fascinating, but outside the focus of this thread.

HiJack on March 23, 2014 at 2:14 PM

HiJack on March 23, 2014 at 1:48 PM

I meant it as a compliment to your post.

davidk on March 23, 2014 at 2:14 PM

davidk on March 23, 2014 at 2:12 PM

He talks to us all. Sometimes we’re listening. I’ve prayed and asked questions. He answered me in ways I never expected.

dogsoldier on March 23, 2014 at 2:16 PM

HiJack on March 23, 2014 at 1:48 PM

I meant it as a compliment to your post.

davidk on March 23, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Well, thank you, davidk. I usually get angry responses to the idea but most people here are fairly sensible. Until somebody starts spouting liberal talking points. And rightly so. And what other political blogs will we find threads dedicated to scripture? Certainly not any liberal ones. Very refreshing.

HiJack on March 23, 2014 at 2:19 PM

It was through Peter’s preaching to Cornelius (a gentile) that God revealed to the Apostles that the Gospel was indeed also for the gentiles. cf. Acts 10.

This occurred about the same time as Paul’s conversion and befor Paul began his ministry to the gentile.

davidk on March 23, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Not a Christian, so I have to ask, why did the Samaritan believe in response to a merely a few unexceptional words? Imagine if a man approached you and said, “I am Jesus 2.0″, would you believe?

Federati on March 23, 2014 at 2:26 PM

It just so happened that I have just returned from church (Presbyterian) in which the Gospel reading was was first read to us and was then the basis of the sermon. I was literally blown away by the message of the universality of the Church and the fact that we are all equal before God, if not in society.

I commend Ed Morrisey on the selection of this passage for today’s post. I am not particularly religious, but was blown away both by the reading of the page (which I followed in the bible provided in church and then the sermon that followed. Ed Morrisey gave an excellent short sermon, himself, on the meaning of the reading.

ptolemy on March 23, 2014 at 2:31 PM

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.”

Here is Christ Himself referencing the Trinity.

anuts on March 23, 2014 at 2:42 PM

And what other political blogs will we find threads dedicated to scripture?

HiJack on March 23, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Red State does.
Erick Erickson’s latest.

lineholder on March 23, 2014 at 2:42 PM

H/t Resist We Much

Schadenfreude on March 23, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Not a Christian, so I have to ask, why did the Samaritan believe in response to a merely a few unexceptional words? Imagine if a man approached you and said, “I am Jesus 2.0″, would you believe?

Federati on March 23, 2014 at 2:26 PM

According to the passage of scripture, that isn’t all that was said. Jesus made mention of specifics facts pertaining to the woman’s life.

If you take this and combine it with societal influences at the time that have stated by a few people in other statements, Jews didn’t associate with Samaritans. At all. So there would be no reason for a Jew to pursue obtaining facts about a Samaritan’s life experiences, would they?

Yet there He was, telling her about her life.

And He also told her that redemption and salvation would be for people other than just the Jews. It was message of hope other societies of people, you see.

That’s my take on it anyway, although I daresay some of the people here who have greater grasp of historical and societal influences might have more knowledgeable opinions to share.

lineholder on March 23, 2014 at 2:51 PM

HiJack on March 23, 2014 at 2:14 PM

I think we’re on the same sheet of music then. Cheers.

I read your response to DavidK also. Hard to imagine a fellow Christian getting angered over a discussion like that. I have had very liberal folks inject politics into discussion of faith though and that is were I get a bit animated. When I was a young(er) warrant, our unit had the unique distinction of having Chaplain Chana Timoner as our faith leader for the battalion. Clinton era, very liberal, but likable. The first female Army Chaplain.

She tried to have inner-faith Bible/Torah studies (pot-luck) style and we were all actually pretty excited for the perspective. But right out of the blocks, it became political messages. First I really heard about national healthcare being pushed. She injected that in Bible teaching analogies. But she also used the studies to downplay the significance and even impugn the behavior of Jesus Christ. The story of the money changers was one of the instances. She claimed the money-changers were an absolute necessity and sanctioned by the temple leaders. She stated that Jesus was completely out of line “If he really had done this.” So we ask, why in the courts of the Gentiles and not outside the temple completely. Also ,if there indeed was cheating why wouldn’t a Rabbi be wrathful as a loving father seeing his house out of order? That’s when it was painfully obvious she thought we were hicks to be humored and not taken seriously. If this is not her exact comment the last time I went, it is very close.

“It’s hard to make this all make sense to Christians when that’s all you know.”

hawkdriver on March 23, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Not a Christian, so I have to ask, why did the Samaritan believe in response to a merely a few unexceptional words? Imagine if a man approached you and said, “I am Jesus 2.0″, would you believe?

Federati on March 23, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Remember, that she declared that he was a prophet on the basis that He knew about her not having just one husband. He then went to declare that he was the Messiah. I don’t know, but if someone came up to me as a complete stranger and told me things about myself that nobody else would know that I might listen to him.

HiJack on March 23, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Not a Christian, so I have to ask, why did the Samaritan believe in response to a merely a few unexceptional words? Imagine if a man approached you and said, “I am Jesus 2.0″, would you believe?
Federati on March 23, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Go back and read the passage:

“Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Christ?” “Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Christ?”

Do you know everything I have done?

I don’t even know everything I have done as far as it has affected others. And I’m not sure I want to know.

kcewa on March 23, 2014 at 2:54 PM

Ed,

Thanks for moving Sunday Reflections to the main page. This one, for me, was particularly timely and welcome.

Athos on March 23, 2014 at 2:58 PM

It was through Peter’s preaching to Cornelius (a gentile) that God revealed to the Apostles that the Gospel was indeed also for the gentiles. cf. Acts 10.

This occurred about the same time as Paul’s conversion and befor Paul began his ministry to the gentile.

davidk on March 23, 2014 at 2:26 PM

This is true, davidk, but remember that when Peter showed up at Cornelius’ house he stated that it was unlawful (as a Jew) to do so. He first preached to one Gentile family, but it was Paul that was commissioned for preaching to Gentiles directly. Peter still didn’t understand it fully when he drew away from eating with Gentiles when his fellow apostles showed up, and he was called for his hypocrisy by Paul. And in 2Peter, Peter turns his followers over to Paul and also states that what Paul has to say is hard to understand. Well, it would be for those who don’t understand that salvation has come to the Gentiles apart from the Jews. Very interesting.

HiJack on March 23, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Thank you, Mr. Morrissey. I needed this.

dtb on March 23, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Ed,

Thanks for moving Sunday Reflections to the main page. This one, for me, was particularly timely and welcome.

Athos on March 23, 2014 at 2:58 PM

He had no choice—They closed the Green Room…

OmahaConservative on March 23, 2014 at 3:00 PM

And what other political blogs will we find threads dedicated to scripture?

HiJack on March 23, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Red State does.
Erick Erickson’s latest.

lineholder on March 23, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Thank for that, lineholder!

HiJack on March 23, 2014 at 3:03 PM

First female Jewish Chaplain …

hawkdriver on March 23, 2014 at 3:03 PM

First female Jewish Chaplain …

hawkdriver on March 23, 2014 at 3:03 PM

Who is first female Jewish Chaplain?

OmahaConservative on March 23, 2014 at 3:09 PM

a merely a few unexceptional words

Not to argue with the poster but the words were exceptional for the time, the place and the circumstances.

As the song says, “More Like Jesus, help me to be.”

jazzuscounty on March 23, 2014 at 3:10 PM

Well, I would be suspicious and assume the man found out in a non-supernatural way, or, since it was 2000 years ago, maybe he was some kind of magician, not automatically God on Earth… but thanks for the replies, much appreciated.

Federati on March 23, 2014 at 3:11 PM

hawkdriver on March 23, 2014 at 3:03 PM

Who is first female Jewish Chaplain?

OmahaConservative on March 23, 2014 at 3:09 PM

Chana Timoner. I have a comment above and a link.

hawkdriver on March 23, 2014 at 3:12 PM

Who is first female Jewish Chaplain?

OmahaConservative on March 23, 2014 at 3:09 PM

Ooops, never mind…

OmahaConservative on March 23, 2014 at 3:12 PM

was … she died quite a few years ago

hawkdriver on March 23, 2014 at 3:13 PM

Thank for that, lineholder!

HiJack on March 23, 2014 at 3:03 PM

You’re welcome. Erick’s perspective is from the viewpoint of a Presbyterian. Just FYI.

lineholder on March 23, 2014 at 3:22 PM

OmahaConservative on March 23, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Wasn’t aware, thanks!

Athos on March 23, 2014 at 3:23 PM

Well, I would be suspicious and assume the man found out in a non-supernatural way, or, since it was 2000 years ago, maybe he was some kind of magician, not automatically God on Earth… but thanks for the replies, much appreciated.
Federati on March 23, 2014 at 3:11 PM

You also have to keep in mind the different audiences and themes of which the Gospels were speaking to and about.

Matthew-Jews
Mark-Romans
Luke-Greeks
John-also called the universal gospel, had its focus on all the people of every time and place.

The Gospel of John also was less chronological and dealt primarily on the deity of Christ. Therefore the narrative concentrated less on historical details and instead, focused on this primary theme.

anuts on March 23, 2014 at 3:32 PM

So the woman didn’t necessarily convert to those particular words, and some deep conversation took place that wasn’t mentioned in the passage? That would make sense. I am always befuddled when I read parts of the Bible, where Jesus walks by a random person and says, “Hey, leave everything you’re doing, your life and your family and come join my religion” and they do it almost instantaneously.

Federati on March 23, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Kingsjester, this Sunday

Schadenfreude on March 23, 2014 at 3:41 PM

hawkdriver on March 23, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Those syncretistic studies are always a disaster, and you can never reconcile Christianity to a false religion…

OmahaConservative on March 23, 2014 at 3:46 PM

So the woman didn’t necessarily convert to those particular words, and some deep conversation took place that wasn’t mentioned in the passage? That would make sense. I am always befuddled when I read parts of the Bible, where Jesus walks by a random person and says, “Hey, leave everything you’re doing, your life and your family and come join my religion” and they do it almost instantaneously.

Federati on March 23, 2014 at 3:38 PM

I think it’s the experience of meeting him as much as it is the words.

kcewa on March 23, 2014 at 3:47 PM

Federati on March 23, 2014 at 3:38 PM

The passage includes the words and context which are deemed important enough to “grab” the message. Like in any documented account, the message can get lost in the minutiae of details with superfluous writing.

anuts on March 23, 2014 at 3:47 PM

Somewhat off-topic but has anyone seen the “God’s Not Dead” movie yet?

lineholder on March 23, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Somewhat off-topic but has anyone seen the “God’s Not Dead” movie yet?

lineholder on March 23, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Am waiting for Ed to review it first…

OmahaConservative on March 23, 2014 at 3:50 PM

OmahaConservative on March 23, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Anything the left defines as “propaganda” sparks my interest, especially where God is concerned.

Just checked out the trailer for the movie…it’s looks to be a good movie.

lineholder on March 23, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Anything the left defines as “propaganda” sparks my interest, especially where God is concerned.

Just checked out the trailer for the movie…it’s looks to be a good movie.

lineholder on March 23, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Thanks for the link—It does indeed look interesting…

OmahaConservative on March 23, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Wasn’t Kevin Sorbo on TEMS last week? Are those shows archived, and can we listen to the on-demand somewhere?

OmahaConservative on March 23, 2014 at 4:21 PM

It’s a good thing, Ed.

Makes me think.

wolly4321 on March 23, 2014 at 4:45 PM

I am always befuddled when I read parts of the Bible, where Jesus walks by a random person and says, “Hey, leave everything you’re doing, your life and your family and come join my religion” and they do it almost instantaneously.

Federati on March 23, 2014 at 3:38 PM

I realize you probably cherish your skepticism, but for one minute, set it aside (you can get it back, don’t worry).

For a minute, think of this as possibly being true; here is an account of a man who looks and talks very much like other Jewish men of his time, but who is so compelling in some way that men with jobs and families and women who meet him for just a brief time are willing to drop everything so they can follow him, literally follow him on two feet just so they can hear what he says. Crowds of people gather at personal sacrifice to themselves to hear him speak wherever he goes.

Why do you think this might be?

You can say its all a lie because you don’t want to try to understand it, but unless its all a fakery, perpetrated to fool you, its pretty amazing.

Who is this guy? People hear him speak and it changes them- really and truly changes them. And this stuff is so compelling its still happening 2000 years later.

What if its true?

If its true, you can start the deepest, most passionate love affair you are able imagine- and it won’t last just for this lifetime, but…. forever.

What if its true?

Pless1foEngrish on March 23, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Found the TEMS show with Kevin Sorbo and listened. Great show and very interesting. Shutting it off now, don’t want to hear Reince P…

OmahaConservative on March 23, 2014 at 4:58 PM

So the woman didn’t necessarily convert to those particular words, and some deep conversation took place that wasn’t mentioned in the passage? That would make sense. I am always befuddled when I read parts of the Bible, where Jesus walks by a random person and says, “Hey, leave everything you’re doing, your life and your family and come join my religion” and they do it almost instantaneously.

Federati on March 23, 2014 at 3:38 PM

I suspect you are coming from a worldview that dismisses the supernatural. You cannot understand or even accept Jesus’ ministry without accepting the work of the Holy Spirit.

A discussion concerning that can be quite lengthy, but I want to make just a couple of comments.

Jesus was/is fully God and fully human.

When He was on earth as the Messiah, He laid aside His Deity and operated as a human in the strength of the Holy Spirit. Just like we can if we weren’t such knuckleheads. So He spoke prophetically to the Samaritan speaking truth He received from the Holy Spirit.

These prophetic words and the miracles He did was a witness to Him and the validity of His ministry and claims. Every truth was to be established, according to Jewish law, on the strength of two or more witnesses.

He told the Jews, “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”

(I wonder what it’s like to be “fully human?”)

davidk on March 23, 2014 at 4:58 PM

Put the DVD for God’s Not Dead in my saved queue on Netflix. Not available yet, I guess.

As a bonus, I love the Newsboys.

Pless1foEngrish on March 23, 2014 at 4:59 PM

ericdijon on March 23, 2014 at 12:03 PM

I am an RCIA member and it was my first scrutiny today: A beautiful ceremony.

Last Monday night in Catechism, the Elect met to discuss our journey so far and in preparation for the first scrutiny today. We have been together for nearly a year and have talked about why we seek Christ in the past. This last Monday we were asked again, as we all know each other very well now, the depth of our answers were astounding.

All six of us had come to Christ by different paths. In our readings, discussions of Christ, arguments, laughter and analysis we have become close friends and true brothers and sisters. By that I mean I love my Elect sisters as I do my own sister. And I love my Elect brothers as I do my own brother, may he rest in peace.

In thinking about that experience all week and with the reading today, my bothers and sisters are ready to share that love with our parish. The next step is for us to share that love with our community. We have become Apostles of Jesus. This I never expected but I am honored that it has. I am not worthy of Christ and the Father’s love, nor even worthy to enter the Father’s house each Sunday. But I am glade that I have been invited.

This has been the most profound year of my 60 on earth. I look so much forward now to the rest of this journey in love and peace.

Yours in Christ,
Michael.

PS…Ed, Thank you for this weekly post. MH.

Michael Harlin on March 23, 2014 at 5:06 PM

Somewhat off-topic but has anyone seen the “God’s Not Dead” movie yet?

lineholder on March 23, 2014 at 3:48 PM

https://twitter.com/ratiochristi

Scroll down; there are several tweets about the movie.

davidk on March 23, 2014 at 5:07 PM

nor even worthy to enter the Father’s house each Sunday. But I am glade that I have been invited.

This has been the most profound year of my 60 on earth. I look so much forward now to the rest of this journey in love and peace.

Yours in Christ,
Michael.

PS…Ed, Thank you for this weekly post. MH.

Michael Harlin on March 23, 2014 at 5:06 PM

As a Christian, you are the Father’s house.

davidk on March 23, 2014 at 5:14 PM

I am an RCIA member and it was my first scrutiny today: A beautiful ceremony.

Last Monday night in Catechism, the Elect met to discuss our journey so far and in preparation for the first scrutiny today. We have been together for nearly a year and have talked about why we seek Christ in the past. This last Monday we were asked again, as we all know each other very well now, the depth of our answers were astounding.

All six of us had come to Christ by different paths. In our readings, discussions of Christ, arguments, laughter and analysis we have become close friends and true brothers and sisters. By that I mean I love my Elect sisters as I do my own sister. And I love my Elect brothers as I do my own brother, may he rest in peace.

In thinking about that experience all week and with the reading today, my bothers and sisters are ready to share that love with our parish. The next step is for us to share that love with our community. We have become Apostles of Jesus. This I never expected but I am honored that it has. I am not worthy of Christ and the Father’s love, nor even worthy to enter the Father’s house each Sunday. But I am glade that I have been invited.

This has been the most profound year of my 60 on earth. I look so much forward now to the rest of this journey in love and peace.

Yours in Christ,
Michael.

PS…Ed, Thank you for this weekly post. MH.

Michael Harlin on March 23, 2014 at 5:06 PM

That’s what I never had being a cradle Catholic and raised during the extraordinary confusion post Vatican II. I’m just finding my way at 58.

anachrotech on March 23, 2014 at 5:20 PM

A friend of mine have a really great sermon on this Gospel Reading today…

OmahaConservative on March 23, 2014 at 5:37 PM

And I wouldn’t mind getting my hair back, too, while you’re at it.

Me neither.

That’s what I never had being a cradle Catholic and raised during the extraordinary confusion post Vatican II. I’m just finding my way at 58.

anachrotech on March 23, 2014 at 5:20 PM

My parish does Bible Study. Perhaps you should look and see whether yours does too.

unclesmrgol on March 23, 2014 at 5:38 PM

Not a Christian, so I have to ask, why did the Samaritan believe in response to a merely a few unexceptional words? Imagine if a man approached you and said, “I am Jesus 2.0″, would you believe?

Federati on March 23, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Believing is seeing.

She already knew that Jesus was someone special, right from the opening words. In fact, Jews would walk long distances to avoid going through Samaria, they despised them that much. And the Samaritans felt likewise about the Jews.

So here we have a Jewish man walking up to a Samaritan woman and asking for water. He has her attention right there. He then reveals details of her life that nobody else should know, and then makes the big claim — that He is the Messiah.

That’s enough for her to go back and tell the crew. And what in almost any other engagement between Jews and Samaritans would turn into a riot — doesn’t. Jesus and His are invited to stay for several days.

With these thoughts in mind, you might want to revisit the Parable of the Good Samaritan — which probably might well be the Parable of the Good Samaritans — because the Jew on the road was probably brought to a Samaritan inn.

unclesmrgol on March 23, 2014 at 5:55 PM

And I wouldn’t mind getting my hair back, too, while you’re at it.

:D

I can relate.

itsnotaboutme on March 23, 2014 at 5:55 PM

A friend of mine have a really great sermon on this Gospel Reading today…

OmahaConservative on March 23, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Good. But the Samaritans would have begged to differ — for they were the ones who avoided being sent in captivity to Assyria, and claimed to have kept the old faith until the return of their bretheren. The language they speak and write seems to give some truth to that assertion. Their name means “Keepers” or “Watchers” — an implication that they had kept the Torah even in their bretheren’s absence.

This animosity is what makes the belief of the Samaritans all the more powerful — for they are people who think that even the Jews are heretics.

unclesmrgol on March 23, 2014 at 6:09 PM

Thanks, Ed. And to all the commentators here also.

This seeming contradiction echoes later in the Gospel, when Jesus cries out on the cross, “I thirst.” Jesus is sustained not by food in this context but true conversion and evangelization — which the Samaritan woman provides Jesus in exchange for the gift of faith granted freely and undeservingly, as it is to all of us as well.

Jesus continues to cry out, “I thirst.” Which answer will we give?

I tried to find a video I watched a few years ago of Mother Theresa and I can’t. I remember her saying that when Jesus cried out, “I thirst,” He was thirsty for souls.

I did find this Mother Theresa quote:
“The aim of our congregation, the aim of our existence, is not just to do that work, the aim is to satiate the thirst of God, the thirst of Jesus on the cross for love for souls.”

Elisa on March 23, 2014 at 6:27 PM

Not a Christian, so I have to ask, why did the Samaritan believe in response to a merely a few unexceptional words? Imagine if a man approached you and said, “I am Jesus 2.0″, would you believe?
Federati on March 23, 2014 at 2:26 PM

So the woman didn’t necessarily convert to those particular words, and some deep conversation took place that wasn’t mentioned in the passage? That would make sense. I am always befuddled when I read parts of the Bible, where Jesus walks by a random person and says, “Hey, leave everything you’re doing, your life and your family and come join my religion” and they do it almost instantaneously.
Federati on March 23, 2014 at 3:38 PM

I think the question in view here is: From whence does spiritual life come?

Peter walked daily with Jesus, saw all His miracles, and witnessed firsthand those occasions when Jesus perceived not only the evil thoughts of scribes and pharisees, but also his own.
Despite all this “evidence” we have this exchange in Matthew 16:

13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Spiritual life is the gift of God, and when God speaks you into life, you, quite simply, live.

That is why when Jesus-God incarnate-says, as He did in specific instances, follow Me, it is a call of life to His child, and is responded to as such.

An excellent corollary may be found when Jesus said “Lazarus, come forth!” This was not an offer, but a command from Him who rules over death and hell.

questionmark on March 23, 2014 at 6:36 PM

Comment pages: 1 2