Reflection on the Gospel: The Samaritan Woman at the Well


During the six weeks of Lent 2020, Bishop Donal McKeown invites us, as individuals, as families and parish faith communities of the Diocese of Derry, to use the six Sunday Gospels of Lent to look at the life of service to which God is calling all of us, as the 2020 disciples of Jesus.

Priests and parishioners of the diocese are asked to create opportunities in their parish for discussion of each Gospel reflection.

The parish conversation may take place over a cup of tea after Mass, it might take place after a Weekday Mass, it might be in the form of a more structured discussion perhaps put together by the Parish Pastoral Council. It could be a case of handing out flyers at Mass with the discussion points, so that families can discuss them at home.

Bishop Donal's third reflection for consideration is outlined below.


Third Sunday of Lent, 15 March 2020 Gospel: The Samaritan Woman at the Well 

The Gospel of the third Sunday of Lent 2020 can be viewed here on CatholicIreland.Net


Reflection by Bishop Donal

The story of the 'nameless' Samaritan Woman at the Well, recorded only in the Gospel of St John, is full of truths and powerful lessons. An outcast in her own community, the Samaritan woman even despised herself, but Jesus recognised her spiritual thirst and engaged with her. The grace of God is always there for everyone. Regardless of the entanglements of our lives, He values all of us enough to actively seek us, to draw us to His intimacy. There are many people who thirst for healing, but they do not know how to go about encountering Jesus – perhaps they are too afraid, unsure or embarrassed to talk to God; perhaps they feel excluded or intimated by others whose main agenda is to recognise and highlight their faults.

Reflections for discussion and consideration:

  1. The first theme of our Diocesan Plan is to 'Build Welcome and Inclusive Communities'. Many people feel isolated in some way - be it in their community, their family, their workplace or in society. In the knowledge that Jesus loves us where we are, but loves us too much to leave us where we are, how might Jesus' encounter with the Woman at the Well teach or inspire your parish community to recognise and engage with those who feel isolated? 

  2. We often assume, perhaps from outward appearances, that we know what is going on in the lives of others. We often judge others from what we know of them. In what ways does today's Gospel teach us on the dangers of such assumptions and judgements? 

  3. Many people are searching for meaning in their lives; there are many for whom God may seem distant. The spiritual thirst of the Samaritan woman was recognised by Jesus. Through their encounter, she was enabled and inspired to undertake a very pivotal role in her community, drawing others to meet Jesus. In what might seem, for some, a male-dominated Church, the role of women in the Church – including women's role in the family, the local church, schools and parish community - has been pivotal in every generation. Discuss the leading and key roles of women in the Church, and in our parish, in drawing others to God and in handing on the faith. How can your parish recognise and offer continued support? 


    + Donal​ McKeown
    Bishop of Derry

Liturgy music suggestions for Sunday, 15 March 


  • Love is His word
  • My song is love unknown
  • The King of love my shepherd is

Diocesan Prayer for Lent 2020 

Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference statement on li...
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