Living Water Poured Out on Us
The woman at the well is one of the most intriguing and powerful women figures in the Gospel. Although to a Jew she is a nobody (because she is a woman and a Samaritan), she engages Jesus in a lively and revealing dialogue. What do you think she thinks about Jesus? What does Jesus think of her? How is she transformed in this encounter?
When Jesus requests, “Give me a drink,” he expresses a need for her. That need begins a conversation that satisfied her very deep thirst for God and for acceptance. After all, she came at noon, the hottest time of the day, so that she wouldn’t meet the women who shunned her and derided her. Jews considered Samaritans to be less than human and men did not speak to women in public.
But Jesus is different. Jesus gifts her with dialogue and presence. He not only talks to her, but he also appreciates her willingness to be vulnerable and accepts her as she is. Transformed by this experience of Jesus as “living water,” she runs back to the village, to people she tried to avoid and that avoided her, and her excitement at coming to know Jesus transforms them. They too come to believe that the Savior, the Lord, was among them.
One of many lessons for me in this story is that being vulnerable frees us to be honest with God, myself, and others. Ultimately, knowing Jesus quenches my deepest longing. Another lesson is acceptance of the stranger, the one who doesn’t fit, who isn’t like me. Jesus breaks the law again in talking to a woman, in public. Furthermore, he needs her to give him a drink. I am left with lots to think about regarding the role of some laws in my own life today. When would I be willing to break a law in order to save another?
Join us on Sunday, as our Elect and candidates express their own vulnerabilities by naming the transformation they seek in their lives. Like them, ask that living water, the water of salvation quenches our thirst too! And then as disciples, by virtue of our own baptism, we too, run with gratitude to share God’s living water with all we meet.