The Art of Lent: Christ and the Woman of Samaria, by Derek Rotty

Judge Will Hold Hearing Wednesday in Case That Could Block Abortion Pill Nationwide, by Erika Ahern
March 14, 2023
Saint of the Day for March 14: St. Maximilian (274 – March 12, 295)
March 14, 2023

Woman at the Well. Jesus

By Derek Rotty, Catholic Exchange, March 14, 2023

Derek Rotty is a husband, father, teacher, & free-lance writer who lives in Jackson, Tennessee. He has written extensively on Catholic history, culture, faith formation, & family. Find out more about him & his work at


Viewing and pondering sacred art, engaging in vizio divina, offers the faithful a great way to meditate more deeply on the life of Jesus Christ and the mystery of salvation. This series of articles will highlight several pieces of art related to the season of Lent, specifically the Gospel readings for each week. Each of these pieces of art allows us to reflect on the transformation to which our Lord calls us during this penitential season, and to bring the realities of these biblical episodes into our own lives.

On the Third Sunday of Lent, in Year A of our Church’s lectionary cycle, we hear the story of the Samaritan woman who was met by Jesus at Jacob’s well. This Gospel is used for the first scrutiny of the unbaptized catechumens who are in their final stages of preparation for initiation into the Catholic faith. It is employed at this moment of the liturgical year because it is a story of an astonishing divine encounter, when the Messiah broke through social customs and religious norms to bring Living Water to a thirsty soul.

Christ and the Woman of Samaria is a memorable depiction of this biblical event from the early-1600s. It is memorable primarily for its artistic acumen, but it is also memorable because it was painted by a woman, Lavinia Fontana. The various aspects of the art world in Fontana’s time and place were dominated almost completely by males, so she is generally regarded as the first female to make a career of art. Both the artist and her depiction of this biblical episode teach us to look well beyond existing norms and expectations, and to look for a deeper message of truth, goodness, and beauty. …

Continue reading >>>>