Jesus was tired and hot and hungry He had traveled a long way
All he wanted to do was sit down and rest a moment But there she was confidently carrying her bucket to the well.
As soon as he saw her He knew her.
He knew her story.
He knew her fears.
He knew that her confidence was a façade to cover and protect her. He knew everything about her and he loved her
He loved her because he was God
Tired or not
Samaritan or not
Woman or not
Stranger or not
He reached out to her
That’s what God does.
But he knew that if he approached her too quickly it would be another wound another hurt. He knew that if he approached her too quickly she would run and hide that was her normal “modus operandi” when she was afraid
She would simply move on find someone else.
He knew that if he held up the mirror and showed her clearly who she had become it would be too painful So even though he was tired and thirsty and just wanted to sit He approached her
He took the first step
He broke all the rules…
don’t talk to Samaritans
don’t talk to women.
Don’t take water from someone who is unclean He approached her humbly asking a favor
He began to establish a simple relationship with her
He bantered with her
And she began to trust him
She began to trust him so much that she
even challenged him. “How are you going to give me water you don’t even have a bucket” She said with a little swagger
She started to let her guard down
And when the moment was right
with a few simple words he showed her who she had become
“You’re right saying you don’t have a husband you have had 5” There was no anger or self righteousness in his voice
There was no tone of disappointment
He didn’t say “Look how you let me down” He simply listed her sins
He showed her all of the desperate compromises she had made
And she did not run away
She began to hope
Maybe she could start anew
Maybe she could be forgiven
Maybe she could offer sacrifice for her sins
That’s probably why she wanted a clarification.
Where should she go to make amends to offer sacrifice
in Jerusalem or on Mount Horeb? She asks him what her next step should be
He doesn’t get pulled into the polemic between the Jews and the Samaritians
His answer is simple
“Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You can find God where ever you want
He tells her
Where you are there God is.
The conversation continues and she tells him that she hopes for the Messiah She longs to understand “He will tell us everything”
And only now after all of that preparation
He reveals himself to her “I am he the one who is speaking to you”
Jesus gently shows her who she has become and reveals himself to her.
When the disciples returned they begged him to eat something And he responded I have food about which you do not know
What was this food
When did he eat..
His food was loving that woman at the well
His food was building up a relationship with her
His food was restoring her to hope
So moved by his compassion and his interest in her
she does not just go back to her daily life or keep thinking of her own needs
She goes back to her village, her people and she brings them to him How did she get them there to walk all the way out to the well ? She must have begged them
She must have pleaded with them
She must have cajoled them,
Somehow she shook them out of their daily routine
Like he had done for her
They all came
And after a few days they also believed
No longer because of what she had said but
Because they too had met him.
You know it seems like a simple story at first glance
It seems like normal moment in a normal day
A thirsty tired man asks for some water
Yet it is so much more
God is always looking for a way in.
Every single soul is precious in his sight
He is never scandalized by our wrongs
He really does long for us to have life, life to the full in Him
The characters in this Gospel are simple · Our God who loves · Broken humanity who dares to hope in that love again
And once healed brings others to hope and faith and relaitionship with God.
All of us go to the well
All of us go through life doing the things we have to do
Some are tedious and monotonous like drawing water
At different times in our lives
All of need to be forgiven Actually almost all of us need to be forgiven constantly
All of us have to look at who we have become
Or What compromises we have made
Sometimes Hope needs restored
No matter what our sins might be.
Will we, do we, dare we to hope again
Do we dare to believe in God loves
When God revealed himself to the woman
She was so much in awe that she brought others to him
Who have we brought to God? Who have we helped accept the mercy and forgiveness that God so longs to give?
Where should we pray on this mountain or in Jerusalem?
“You can find God anywhere”
Jesus said in other words
Where you are there he is….
Or maybe like the woman at the well
He will find you first
Sometimes a priest hears very very sad things like…
“He says he loves me but he won’t talk to me.”
“She says she loves me but she is never satisfied.”
“My parents say they love me but they are always so busy.”
“He says he loves me but he is always angry at me and I am afraid.”
“I love God but I never go to Church
“I only think of God when I need or want something but I do love him.”
How often do we used the phrase I love it when we talk about things?
I love that car,I love your dress, I love the new Ipad 2I love I love How can you love a thing and how can a thing love you back. We throw the words around so often and in so many ways. We say love love love and sadly, quite frankly sometimes we don’t love at all.
That’s the message of the Gospel today words are not enough. Saying “Lord Lord,” is not enough. Saying "I love you" is not enough. Saying anything is not enough.
If I were to sum up this Gospel I could probably use the phrases like..
"if you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk"
or “talk is cheap”
or “actions speak louder than words”
or “practice what you preach”
Benjamin Franklin is reputed to have coined the proverbial saying "Well done is better than well said".
Shakespeare said... Talkers are no good doers: be assured
We come to use our hands and not our tongues.
St. Francis said “Preach the Gospel always use words only when necessary…”
Think about it.. when we went astray, when we needed Him, God did not just say “I love you”… rather his love became incarnate… it took on flesh.
As St Paul wrote to the Philippians “he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.
In other words Love didn’t just remain words… It became flesh
I am convinced the saddest human beings are those who have never really loved or those who have simply talked about it. and let me tell you they are out there.
May our love go beyond words everyday.
May we imitate our Lord whose love became flesh.
That’s what God wants from us.
That’s what God wants for us. AMEN