Begin with a few moments of quiet.
The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you and among those gathered.
Invite all present to sit comfortably.
When sitting comfortably, take three deep breaths, as you breathe in feel your lungs filling all the way up, when they are full slowly release your breath and feel your lungs emptying out fully. Repeat this three times.
Now return to breathing normally and make the sign of the cross:
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Invite each person present to take a few moments to reflect on:
Where in the past week did I encounter God in my life?
Where in the past week did I inhibit God in my life?
Allow time in quiet for this and then, after a few moments, invite those present to share on this, if they are comfortable to do so.
If you like to have some quiet music playing during this, click here. and return when you are ready.
Introduce the Gospel
Today we are greatly helped by the wonderful Gospel of the Woman at the Well. On the third attempt, Jesus finally gets through to her but after that there is no stopping her. As Augustine teaches, she represents us: what do I thirst for? What is the most
important thing in my life? Where do I now find God? By relentless challenge and resolute honesty, we too can be led to that encounter with Jesus, which changes everything, “giving life a new horizon and a decisive direction.” May we come to believe because we have heard him ourselves and we know that he really is the saviour of the world.
Read the Gospel – John 4:5-42
Read the Gospel aloud, even if you are on your own.
Jesus came to the Samaritan town called Sychar, near the land that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well is there and Jesus, tired by the journey, sat straight down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. When a Samaritan woman 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, ‘What? You are a Jew and you ask me, a Samaritan, for a drink?’ – Jews, in fact, do not associate with Samaritans. Jesus replied:
‘If you only knew what God is offering and who it is that is saying to you:
Give me a drink, you would have been the one to ask, and he would have given you living water.’
‘You have no bucket, sir,’ she answered ‘and the well is deep: how could you get this living water? Are you a greater man than our father Jacob who gave us this well and drank from it himself with his sons and his cattle?’ Jesus replied:
‘Whoever drinks this water will get thirsty again;
but anyone who drinks the water that I shall give will never be thirsty again:
the water that I shall give will turn into a spring inside him, welling up to eternal life.’
‘Sir,’ said the woman ‘give me some of that water, so that I may never get thirsty and never have to come here again to draw water.’ ‘Go and call your husband’ said Jesus to her ‘and come back here.’ The woman answered, ‘I have no husband.’ He said to her, ‘You are right to say, “I have no husband”; for although you have had five, the one you have now is not your husband. You spoke the truth there.’ ‘I see you are a prophet, sir’ said the woman. ‘Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, while you say that Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.’ Jesus said:
‘Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You worship what you do not know;
we worship what we do know: for salvation comes from the Jews.
But the hour will come – in fact it is here already – when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth:
that is the kind of worshipper the Father wants.
God is spirit, and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth.’
The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah – that is, Christ – is coming; and when he comes he will tell us everything.’ ‘I who am speaking to you,’ said Jesus ‘I am he.’
At this point his disciples returned, and were surprised to find him speaking to a woman, though none of them asked, ‘What do you want from her?’ or, ‘Why are you talking to her?’ The woman put down her water jar and hurried back to the town to tell the people. ‘Come and see a man who has told me everything I ever did; I wonder if he is the Christ?’ This brought people out of the town and they started walking towards him.
Meanwhile, the disciples were urging him, ‘Rabbi, do have something to eat; but he said, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples asked one another, ‘Has someone been bringing him food?’ But Jesus said:
‘My food is to do the will of the one who sent me, and to complete his work.
Have you not got a saying: Four months and then the harvest?
Well, I tell you: Look around you, look at the fields;
already they are white, ready for harvest!
Already the reaper is being paid his wages, already he is bringing in the grain for eternal life, and thus sower and reaper rejoice together.
For here the proverb holds good: one sows, another reaps;
I sent you to reap a harvest you had not worked for.
Others worked for it; and you have come into the rewards of their trouble.’
Many Samaritans of that town had believed in him on the strength of the woman’s testimony when she said, ‘He told me all I have ever done’, so, when the Samaritans came up to him, they begged him to stay with them. He stayed for two days, and when he spoke to them many more came to believe; and they said to the woman, ‘Now we no longer believe because of what you told us; we have heard him ourselves and we know that he really is the saviour of the world.’
Reflect on the Gospel
Take some time now to reflect on what you have read.
There are many approaches to this. Over the coming weeks, we will offer a different approach. Use a method you are used to or use the one we offer.
Sit quietly now for a few moments and allow the images created by hearing the Gospel to emerge. Use the quietening music again if you wish, click here. and return when you are ready
When you are ready read any one or more of the following thoughts and allow it to resonate with you.
- Jesus leads the woman along a wonderful journey towards a deeper and fuller life. You can enter the story with Jesus, the ideal leader, parent, teacher, or spiritual guide.
Notice how he meets the woman where she is, needing her assistance, how he is patient with her, but also challenges her to grow to what she is capable of.
Perhaps you have been such a teacher, or you can recall people who were.
- You can also enter the story from the perspective of the woman’s journey. Notice the steps along the way: suspicion, distrust, curiosity, misunderstanding and conversion. Her journey was one in which a very human motivation attracted her to Jesus: the thought of having water in such a way that she did not have to come and draw it from the well.
What have been the human motives that have attracted you to faith, prayer, religion, church and which have been stepping-stones to a deeper personal relationship with Jesus?
Perhaps we can also see the same movement in the growth of some of our human relationships.
- The woman’s final tactic is to attempt to buy time before responding —it will all happen sometime in the future. Jesus points out that the time for a faith response is NOW.
How have you discovered the importance of the NOW moment?
Finish this part with a Prayer
O God, living and true, look upon your people, whose dry and stony hearts are parched with thirst.
Unseal the living water of your Spirit;
let it become within us an ever-flowing spring, leaping up to eternal life.
Thus may we worship you in spirit and in truth through Christ, our deliverance and hope, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, holy and mighty God for ever and ever. Amen.
Prayer of the Faithful
IN the Mass, the prayer of the faithful are the people’s response to their reflection on the Scripture readings. The following have been prepared by parishioners for our Masses on this weekend.
Reader: Jesus said “God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” Let us pray
For the Church,
O Lord, that we, like the Samaritan woman, may seek truth in the living water that gives eternal life. Lord hear us
that we accept that through the gift of Faith in Christ Jesus we truly have access to God’s love. Lord hear us
help us to know that You are always with us along the road of life and that in times of difficulty we can rely on You to nourish our spirit. Lord hear us
We give thanks for the ceasefire in Syria,
And we pray for a more lasting peace so that those who live in suffering may return to their homes and normal lives. Lord hear us
For those working in our health services
that they are kept safe and that they are successful in containing the pestilence that threatens us. Lord hear us
For your own intentions: name those you specifically want to mention Lord hear us
For all who have died ………. name those you specifically want to remember Lord hear us
In the midst of the ordinary things, loving God, you call us to the deeper realities: your thirst for us and our thirst for you. Never let us be satisfied, until we come to the springs of living water, welling up for eternal life. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen
Close the time of Prayer with the Our Father
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Use the quietening music one more time, if you wish to bring your prayer time to a close, click here.
Fr. Denis McCabe offers a 20 minute reflection on the Gospel – Click Here
Fr. Kieran O’Mahony offers a scriptural analysis on the Gospel – Click Here