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The Water in Your Well: Weekly Message for 03-15-2022
Dear Friends in Christ,
“Give me a drink.” We hear in this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus asking the Samaritan woman for a drink. Most of us are familiar with this story in the Gospel. In preparing for this reflection, I was struck by the almost indignation expressed by the Samaritan. “How can you a Jew, ask me a Samaritan woman for a drink?” Instead of thinking about all the cultural and historical reasons for this question, a question was formulated in my mind. How often does our Lord ask me to do something unexpected?
I began reading the narrative again asking the question what if the woman had refused to answer Jesus? She would not have encountered the “Living Water” offered to her by Jesus. She would not have encountered the Christ, the fulfillment of the promise of the Messiah. She would not have met mercy when facing her personal sins and she would have missed the chance to witness to the people in her town who believed in Jesus because of her testimony. God knew exactly what the Samaritan women possessed. He knew the longings in her heart. He had already plumbed the depths of her well as he does with every one of his children.
I wondered, how many invitations to draw from my own well have I refused out of fear of the time commitment or hindered by my feelings of inadequacy or because I would need to let go of personal sin in order to say yes. What did I miss? More importantly, who did I miss?
On one of my mission trips to Haiti after the earthquake of 2010, I was working with the Missionaries of Charity admitting new patients to one of their clinics. Sitting on the benches waiting for assistance was a woman nursing her child. Women nursing their children is a normal sight. But this woman was severely emaciated. Her skin hung from her bones and her infant was equally malnourished. She was not drawing from her surplus to give to her child. She was drawing from her need. At that moment I saw Christ in her. It was one of the most poignant examples of sacrificial love I have witnessed.
This week we celebrate the feast of St Joseph. He too was asked something unexpected, to take Mary as his wife and to be Jesus’ earthly father. I am sure there were many days Joseph looked into his well and questioned if he possessed the qualities worthy of parenting the Son of God. Joseph was a man of deep faith. With God, all things are possible.
Jesus invites us to walk alongside him to change the world. He knows exactly what is in our wells even when we doubt. He never asks for more than we can give. During this Lenten season, may we all strive to be attentive to the unexpected invitations to encounter our Lord and to be a witness who impacts the life of another.
Wishing you a very holy Lent. In the heart of Jesus,