Third Sunday of Lent
Woman at the Well
By Sister Mary Leanne Hubbard
This week, after the Religious Education Congress, I had the joy of taking our visiting sisters from Ohio and Kentucky to the Santa Barbara Mission and Ventura on a sunny Southern California day. I have been to the mission many times. This time, however, we were shepherded by a docent who explained that the fountain in the Sacred Garden in the center of the mission buildings served more than a decorative purpose. There were so few tourists this Tuesday morning that the sound of the lively water was even more pronounced. The docent explained that the fountain aerated the water so that it could be used for cooking and drinking as no bacteria could accumulate. Directly after this explanation, I moved into the Blessed Sacrament chapel while the others continued the familiar mission tour. As I sat in the quiet chapel, I was struck by the vivacious birdsong drifting in from the Sacred Garden. Obviously, the dancing water gives life to more than the human mission-dwellers.
This third week of Lent we accompany the Samaritan woman to the well where she meets the Living Water who wants so earnestly to offer her himself to quench her thirst for life and healing rather than the still water of the well.
Jesus says, “If you knew the gift of God….”
He senses her need, much deeper than even she knows, the remedy of which is before her. The invitation is not just for her own sake, but rather “the water I shall give will become in him (her) a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
So during the Lent, I want to return to this Living Water symbolized in this mission fountain, to remember that he wants to make me into a fountain of life, freed from stagnation and the accumulated baggage of bacteria, to be refreshment to others in the way he is for me day in and day out. This necessitates opening myself to the “gift of God” wherever and whenever possible, to show up and stay in the conversation as did the Samaritan woman.