The Woman at the Well

by Andy Alexander, SJ, Maureen McCann Waldron

The following reflection is based on John 4:5–42.


Why did the Samaritan woman come to draw water at noon, the hottest time of the day?

What are the places in my life where I am embarrassed, where I avoid interaction with others?

Annibale Carracci - The Samaritan Woman at the Well - WGA4446

What are the noonday wells of my life?

Imagine yourself as the woman in this passage. Jesus approaches you and tries to reveal his thirst to you—perhaps his thirst for intimacy with you—but you put him off. You are not worthy. It won’t work. When he offers to satisfy your thirst, you put him off. You are convinced he can’t satisfy your needs, at least not at this well and without a bucket.

Ask: How do I put Jesus off, with excuses, problems, or barriers? Examples might include saying, “I don’t have time,” “I haven’t done this before,” “My stuff is too complicated,” or “I don’t know how to find you in this mess.”

Guercino - Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the Well - WGA10946

When Jesus shows the woman that he knows her, she comes to understand she is in the presence of someone special—perhaps the One she has thirsted for all her life.

Do I let Jesus show me that he knows and understands me?

The grace will come when I see that I have been at the well a long time and have long been thirsty. When I can name the new thirst, the Water that now satisfies that thirst, I can overcome my remaining resistance to trust. When I see that Jesus reveals himself to me by revealing me to myself, thereby showing me my need for him as Savior, I will rejoice and tell the whole world, too.

For an artistic interpretation of this Gospel story, see Arts & Faith: Lent.

This is from Praying Lent by Andy Alexander, SJ, and Maureen McCann Waldron.
 Andy Alexander, SJ

Andy Alexander, SJ

Andy Alexander, SJ, has spent many years of his priesthood in pastoral and ministry work.

See More
 Maureen McCann Waldron

Maureen McCann Waldron

Maureen McCann Waldron graduated from Creighton University with a degree in journalism.

See More