In today’s Gospel, an unclean and outcast Samaritan woman is given an opportunity to receive the living water. The Gospel passage also gives us Jesus’ revelation about himself as the Source of Living Water and teaches us that we need the grace of Jesus Christ for eternal life because he is that life-giving water.
Jesus came to the Samaritan town and sat down by the Jacob’s well. it was a hot midday, and Jesus was tired and thirsty from traveling. Ignoring the racial barriers and traditional hostility between Samaritans and Jews, Jesus sent his disciples to buy some food in the Samaritan town. It was at this point that a Samaritan woman came to the well to draw water. Samaritan woman who faced Jesus that day belonged to a heritage rejected by the Jews. Jesus deliberately placed himself face-to-face with this person whom, apparently, no one else wanted. She was thirsting for love that would last, love that would give purpose to her life.
Couple of Catholic young men from the North were visiting a dusty little town in the back country of West Texas. It was a hard-shell Baptist town in the Bible belt of the South: “No drinking’ and no dancing’ area”. But since these two men were strangers, they asked a cowboy where they might get a drink. The cowboy said, in this town, we use whiskey only for snakebite: to wash the wound as first aid.” Then he added, “If you guys are so thirsty for whiskey, there’s only one poisonous snake in this town and that is in the zoo. So, you better get a ticket to the zoo, go to the snake park, get hold of a cobra through the iron bar of its cage and give it a big hug! The zookeeper will appear immediately with whisky.”
The woman at the well had a mighty thirst, a thirst like that of these young guys for whiskey, a thirst caused by the absence of God in her life. A meeting with Jesus gave her the living waters of friendship with Jesus and the anointing of the Spirit of God which restored her dignity and changed her life.
We need to allow Jesus free entry into our personal lives. Jesus wishes to come into our “private” life, not to embarrass us, not to judge us, but to free us, to change us, and to offer us what we really need: the living water of the Holy Spirit. Let us find this living water in the Sacraments, in prayer, and in the Holy Bible, especially during this Lenten season.
We need to be witnesses to Jesus as the Samaritan woman was. We need to have the courage of our Christian convictions to stand for truth and justice in our day-to-day life. Let us try to get rid of our unholy attachments and the evil habits and sinful addictions that keep us imprisoned. Lent is our time to learn from our mistakes of tolerance in food, drink, drugs, gambling or any other addiction that distances us from the Living Water.
We need to turn to Jesus who loves us with non-judgmental, unconditional love. when we are upset for falling into the same temptations again and again; when we make choices that turn out to be all wrong; when we feel loneliness, when we are depressed and upset and can’t see anything good in ourselves let us come to know that Jesus is there to accept us and help us to overcome everything that disturb us.
The water that Jesus promises is closely linked to conversion and the forgiveness of sin. During this Lenten Season, we are challenged to come to the well and meet Jesus there. He will give us living water and it satisfies our deepest thirst – the thirst for God.