Conversations can be life-giving. They can bring about new insights. They can call forth a new self-understanding. This weekend’s Gospel conversation begins with a Jewish man who is thirsty, a well, and a bucket. It leads to something much deeper that brought the Samaritan woman to new insight … a new self-understanding. This conversation came to be life-giving for her … and for us. Indeed, the whole Gospel unfolds as an insight into who / what is life-giving … encountering Another who takes the time to speak to us … having to face the truth of one’s way of living … doing God’s will – the most satisfying “food” … proclaiming the excitement of discovering Jesus as the “Savior of the world” … coming to belief upon hearing the Word … and desiring with all our heart for Jesus to “stay with us.”
The conversation that unfolds between Jesus and the Samaritan woman reveals what happens when we drink the life-giving water that Jesus offers …we come face-to-face with the Savior of the world … we admit the truth of our own lives … we run to proclaim Jesus’ presence and message to all who will hear. Encounter … truth … proclamation – this is the movement of our Lenten journey toward transformation and new life.
Jesus promises the Samaritan woman living water and promises the disciples food that satisfies beyond mere hunger. What is this living water that Jesus gives? It is Himself as “Savior” … the “love of God … poured into our hearts” (Second Reading) as the gift of the Spirit. Jesus helps the woman at the well go from a literal understanding of water to His gift of living water (the Spirit) by telling her everything that she had done. He helps her come to a new understanding that enables her to witness to Jesus as the Messiah. She began her “Lenten journey” at the well with an encounter with Jesus, faced the truth about herself that she needed to change, and eagerly proclaimed her newfound lease on life. She models for us what happens when we drink the life-giving water Jesus offers. She models for us insight and new understanding of a depth only God can give.
Coming to know Jesus as the Savior of the world requires a constant deepening of faith, a faith that comes from the “gift of God.” Our lives constantly play out the struggle to deepen our faith and get to know Jesus better. The journey of all disciples is to come to deeper belief, which leads to a deeper self-understanding as those who follow Jesus faithfully.
One way to deepen our faith and come to know Jesus better is by spending more time with Him as a friend. Lent is an opportune time to become more attentive to Jesus’ presence – especially in prayer – and encounter Him who loves us, teaches us, and gives us life-giving water. Another way is to enumerate the blessings God has already given us and to remember that these truly are gifts from God. Yet another way to deepen our faith and come to know Jesus is to increase our self-understanding as Body of Christ and to make concrete efforts to act like Christ’s Body. Things like saying “thank you” and smiling at another who looks sad or depressed are simple acts, but they remind us of who we are … Christ for others. These kinds of everyday acts remind us that, like the Samaritan woman, we proclaim Jesus’ presence by the truth of our own lives.
May Saint Michael the Archangel defend, guide, protect, and intercede for us always!
~ Fr. Larry