Lent 2017: Reflections from Current & Former Volunteers Lent 2017 - Page 6

John 4:5-15 , 19b-26 , 39a , 40-42
March 19 , 2017

Third Sunday of Lent

John 4:5-15 , 19b-26 , 39a , 40-42

“ Lord , you are truly the Savior of the world ; give me living water , that I may never thirst again .”
Reflection by Melissa Carnall , former volunteer with Amate House
Writer Anne Lamott tells us , “ Grace meets us where we are , but does not leave us where it found us .” Jesus demonstrates this truth about God ’ s grace in today ’ s Gospel reading . Between the world and our own selves , we experience barriers to encountering God . Jews regarded the Samaritan woman as ritually impure , and she also would have been an outcast in her town , given her five failed marriages . Those were some of her barriers . We too , experience the barriers that can block our experience of God ’ s living water ; it could look like busyness , fear of the “ other ,” feelings of unworthiness , or unresolved hurts that close off our hearts to the fullness of love . But these barriers do not daunt Jesus , just like He was not daunted by the woman ’ s purity status , nor her shame . God is not daunted by our personal and societal barriers to encountering Him . We can learn from the Samaritan woman as she allows Jesus to overcome barriers and break down her defenses . She lets God in , to meet her where she is .
But Jesus also shows us something more in this encounter . God not only meets us wherever we are , but we are sent on mission to share the grace and freedom after our encounter . If we only read the abridged version of today ’ s Gospel , we miss that many of the Samaritans began to believe in Jesus “ because of the word of the woman who testified .” She was met in the chaos of her life and transformed into a messenger of the Living Water . She was sent on mission to spread the good news .

Prayer :

God of boundless life , You who quenched the true thirst of the Samaritan woman at the well , and offer us still the Living Water of Your Son , grant that we may be open to Your grace in the chaos of our lives and the world , undaunted by the barriers we experience . Encounter us in our messiness and send us forth to spread Your love , Your freedom , and Your peace to all those in need . We ask this in the name of Jesus , the Living Water of our lives . Amen .

Focus on : Simple Living : And her mission continues today as she teaches us we can find abundance in simplicity . The woman lacked everything by most standards ( status , stable marriage , equality ), yet in her lack , she had room for the abundance of life that is the Living Water Jesus offered her in Himself . We find this in our years of service . When we remove the distractions of excess , when we learn from those who have fewer resources and less privilege , we create space for true abundance based on grace and relationship with God , instead of false abundance based on acquisition and status .

Service Inspiration : My friend and “ big sister ,” Sr . Christa Parra , IBVM , is a motivation and encouragement to me as I strive to live a life following Jesus , serving others as He did , especially those on the margins . Sr . Christa inspires me because she lives a life rooted in the Love of God that extends to everyone she meets . She lavishes love upon everyone she encounters , without distinction , without regard for supposed worthiness or potential reciprocity . Christa is filled with the Living Water of God and she lets that love flow from her into all her encounters and relationships .
Originally from Gainesville , FL , Melissa graduated from Furman University in Greenville , SC with majors in Religion and Economics . She moved to Chicago for her year of service with Amate House , the young adult volunteer program for the Archdiocese of Chicago . Melissa fell in love with the Windy City and stayed for her Master of Divinity degree at Catholic Theological Union . Melissa now ministers as a Pastoral Associate at Old St . Mary ’ s in Chicago ’ s South Loop neighborhood .
Lenten Reflection Guide - Ash Wednesday , February 18 , 2015