COME AND DRINK
Ex. 17:3-7; Rom. 5:1-2, 5-8; Jn. 4:5-42
Someone asked me recently, “What’s the big deal about Lent? They said “It comes around every year; to me it just says Easter is getting close and my wife makes me give up chocolate!” The season of Lent is a gift from Jesus to get Him back where He belongs in our lives and to allow everything to fall into place as it should.
This is exactly what happened to the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well. Their conversation began with Jesus asking her for a drink of water. This thirst of Jesus is symbolic; it was for her faith that Jesus thirst. Here comes a woman with a water jar, she come to draw some water from the well. Jesus asks her for a drink and engages her in conversation. Now what could be so strange about that? Well, this woman has three strikes against her that should have kept a man like Jesus from even talking to her.
First of all, she was a woman. In the time of Jesus, it was considered inappropriate for a good spiritual rabbi to have a one-on-one conversation with a woman in public. It just wasn’t done in those days. Strike ONE. Secondly, she was a Samaritan. The Samaritans were a mixed-up bunch of people in the eyes of the world you might say that they were outcasts and looked down upon. Strike TWO.
And here comes what ought to be strike three. And it has to do with why this woman was out at the well at this time of the day. If you remember, the Gospel notes: “It was about noon.”
You see, it was not unusual for a woman to come out to the well to draw water. But it was strange for a woman to come out there at that time of the day. Most women would come out to the well earlier in the morning, before the heat of the day set in. But this woman didn’t go out to the well when the other women would be there. She went when she wouldn’t have to deal with other people, when she wouldn’t have to endure their stares and gossip.
This woman at the well had a history and it wasn’t good, she was corrupt or shady and not liked in her community, she was loaded down with shame and guilt. This should have been strike three. With Baseball, if you have 3 strikes you’re out! With Jesus…whether you have one, two, or three….dozen strikes against you, repent and you will never be “OUT”.
Jesus knows that she has led a disgraceful life and yet He engages her in conversation. Our Lord was known for being the friend of sinners. Not that He approved of their sin, far from it. But Jesus was all about calling sinners to repentance, that they would realize their sin, sense their need, and find their forgiveness in Him. That kinda sound like us even today…right?
This is what Jesus does with this woman, using the metaphor of water, the type of water to quench someone’s inner thirst. At first the woman is confused with what Jesus is telling her. She’s thinking about the H2O kind of water. When Jesus tells her: The water that I will give will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman replies, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty.” Maybe she’s beginning to get a clue about where Jesus is going with this and sees that Jesus just may be able to help her.
This living water Jesus gives, He provides free of charge. It’s all by grace. How can we receive this living water from Jesus? Praying is one of the best ways for everyone to receive this living water. Every time we receive Jesus in Holy Communion we are drinking His living water. Every time we turn to Jesus for mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation we receive living water from Jesus. Our Lenten Penance Service may have already taken place but we still do have Confessions every Saturday at 3:30. This time of Lent is a very special season of grace in the Church each year to enable us to drink more and more of this living water that Jesus offers us. Please don’t waste your Lent, instead let us profit from Lent to drink living water from Jesus.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus thirst for the woman’s faith and awoke the love of the Father in her heart. Hanging there on His cross, the Gospel of John tells us that one of the very last things Jesus spoke was “I thirst.” He didn’t want the liquid that He was given on a sponge, that’s not why He thirsts. Jesus thirsts for your faith and wants to awaken the love of God ever more in your heart. Don’t wait for Easter morning for that awaking…let it happen today! One of the Beatitudes tells us: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Jesus wants to talk to you today, just like He talked to the Samaritan woman at the well. So, are you thirsty? Jesus has living water ready for you. It doesn’t come out of a well. It doesn’t come out of a little bottle you buy at Wal Mart. You can’t get it from a water fountain… Jesus has living water for YOU. today. Come and drink.