Sunday, March 27, 2011

Give us water to drink

"Give us water to drink" say the Israelites.

The woman at the well meets Jesus, and they talk, and he tells her every thing she has ever done.

Revealing her, he reveals himself.

Revealing himself, she discovers who she really is - her identity, her true self.

Her self, in relation to God.

(Some ideas from Herb O'Driscoll, based on his "The Word Today" comments on the readings for today.)

What was she expecting? when she went to the well - a bucket of water, a means to draw it up, a well - that her ancestors knew - a gift of an ancient God; yet here he is before her, the one she awaits, the one she expected, after all those years even centuries, the redeemer - the restorer - the one to deliver - not only Israel, for she was Samaritan - the whole world...

She went not to call her husband and come back but to tell the whole town.

This man told me everything he knew about me - and that was everything I have ever done.

But he told her more than that - more than the facts. He said, I will give you living water, water that will gush up like a spring, water that will not simply quench her thirst, fill her need for a day.

This is not the oasis; this is the source.

Israel was having trouble trusting Moses - or God. Moses, who had drawn them up out of Egypt as he, Moses, had been drawn up out of the Nile. Moses, who had struck the Nile with his staff that God might show him the wonder of his majesty. Moses, who struck a rock in the desert that God mgiht show the majesty of his wonders.

Even the barren places flow with streams of water when God commands it. Even the most quarrelsome people, who put God to the test - he sweeps aside their doubts and their lack of faith - he has a wonder to show them - and a wonder to work in them.

Not only does he, having Moses strike the rock, draw forth water from barren stone: he craws forth from barren hearts the miracle of faith, of grace, of love - the mystery of faith that is incarnate in Jesus, that springs up new life within us. That Christ who died, who is risen, who will come again: that Christ lives in our hearts forever.

That God who was a distant memory, a story about an ancestor, the one who strove by the Jordan river with the angel and by giving a well to a son - a beloved son, en route to exile in Egypt; that God, the one who is expected to deliver us, some day, so we are taught (good lesson learned, she remembers it when it counts): that God is present.

That God is present to her, the woman at the well, in the mercy and grace - and the insight - of the Savior, the one who is before here now speaking. God is here and now with us - speaking healing words of truth and of wisdom, of mercy and forgiveness; offering life even through the font that is himself, his own compassionate heart.

In her heart springs up wonder, the wonder of faith, and she goes to tell the world. Like the man born blind she cannot keep it to herself - the wonderful news of the coming of the Savior.

"Living water" - and then the disciples came... As she leaves her jar and goes back to town, they approach him and offer him food (supply run complete). He says to them something strange - it sounds simple - and impossible: I have food to eat ye know not of.

What does he have? Nobody has brought him food - him the source of all being, all life, has served and thereby been fed. In obedience to his father's will Jesus finds true sustenance. Not in bread alone but in every word that proceeds from the mouth of God he finds life.

Life, true life, comes to us, as it came to her, the Samaritan woman, in relationship to the living God revealed in Jesus.


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