by Sr. Rose Marie Tresp, RSM

Exodus 17:3-7 | Romans 5:1-2, 5-8 | John 4:5-42

“Therefore, the Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” ~John 4:9-10

The Synod on the Amazon was heavily criticized by some as a threat to the purity of the Church, assuming that the only and preferred model of church is Eurocentric. Criticisms were leveled at the symbols used at the opening ceremony. In particular, the statue of a naked, pregnant, painted indigenous woman became the focal point of criticism. The statue was variously interpreted as idolatrous or as Our Lady of the Amazon or as the representation of the sacredness of nature.


Jesus, breaking custom and tradition, asks for water from the Samaritan woman. He is willing to receive the most basic symbol of life from a woman rejected by the Jews. Pope Francis and the participants at the Synod were Christlike in their willingness to receive wisdom and counsel from non-Eurocentric cultures. Unfortunately, this is threatening to some who see wisdom for the Church only coming from traditional sources.

For reflection: 

  • Take some time to learn about the results of the Synod on the Amazon.
  • Learn from the some of the indigenous people in your area of the country.


This reflection was taken from Fasting Towards Freedom: Reflections for Lent 2020, by by Sr. Rose Marie Tresp, RSM and Michael Vazquez. The booklet is available for purchase as an electronic download here.  

For more resources for Lent 2020, visit our Lent 2020 page by clicking here.

6 thoughts on “Reflection for the Third Sunday of Lent, March 15

  1. It seems that this reading leads me to believe that we should consider the Amazon as mentioned as favored by the Church, a bit of elitism it sounds to me .
    Suppose Jesus was a composite of wise teachers from times past and that this image made the teachings of Jesus accessible to simple unread people. The indigenous woman probably served somewhat the same purpose.
    We need to embrace a new story that better defines God and puts God everywhere. We have moved away from personification of God to God is the Source of all things and inhabits all things without becoming all things. The Church has difficulty with new realities and will expire clinging to that which is conjured up as infallible teachings. A change is due and maybe people of the Amazon have a gift to give Rome.

  2. The presence of Christ sings and acts in all cultures with a melody of freedom and a call to justice. The natural ways of human bonding become the womb for the extraordinary love of God transforming the tenderness of human love into the nearness and proximity of God with us. Christ invites an enlargement of the human mind and radical willingness of the human will. In those people who lead us out of ourselves, we discover the face of Christ and the radical proximity of the Spirit breaking into human hearts and wills with freedom, compassion and justice that is always the gift of our neighbor.

  3. Beautiful reflections! I worked as a Maryknoll Associate Priest in the southeast Andes of Peru among the Aymara people who reverence Pachamama, Mother Earth, also identified with the Virgin Mary, as central to their faith and existence. Ever since Christianity expanded beyond its Jewish beginnings, it has integrated aspects of every culture it has encountered.

  4. I’ve always believed that we can learn much from indiginous people. Especially where the earth is concerned. They knew and know that the earth and all it’s creatures are sacred.
    The Church has to grow. All things must grow. Grow up. To remain Eurocentric, masagenist and patriarchal is to either and die.
    At Pentecost the Holy Spirit came upon all. Men and women. The people heard their own languages. So God loves and calls to all people. Do we want to be found against the movement of the Holy Spirit?Lent is a good time to search our hearts. And what shall we find there. What shall I find there?

  5. Thank you for saying “Learn from some of the indigenous people of your area of the country” – yay !

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