One of the things we take for granted every day of our lives is the availability of water. All we have to do is open a spigot and we have more than we need. We use water to wash, nourish plants, cook, travel on, and refresh our bodies. A number of Lenten seasons ago we had parish projects to raise money to drill wells in two different villages in Nigeria. We helped people to have a resource of water in the center of their villages so they would not have to walk miles with pails to and from the river to bring water to their homes.
In the Gospel we will use at some of the Masses this weekend, we will hear the account of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:5-42). Tired and thirsty, Jesus and some of His disciples stop at a well. Jesus stays there while the disciples go off to a village to get food. At that point the Samaritan woman comes to draw water. As the conversation between them unfolds we see that the real thirst she has is not for the water in that well but for love. We all thirst for love. Jesus recognizes that thirst in her and begins to refresh and renew her. Once she realizes Jesus is God wanting and waiting to renew and refresh her with His love, she is transformed through the love and attention Jesus pours over her. She comes to realize that in Jesus she has encountered the very presence of the love and hope we all hunger for in the very depths of our being.
Where is the “well” where we allow ourselves to be renewed and refreshed by Jesus? There are many wells where we seek to satisfy our thirst for meaning, hope, joy, and love in our hearts. Some of those wells do just the opposite of what we truly need. Instead of quenching our thirst for life, peace, and renewal, they drain life out of us. Those are the wells of anger, vengeance, greed, sensual pleasure, money, drugs, and jealousy. All too often we are tempted to draw “water” from these wells, but in the end we wind up frustrated, irritated, and drained. The “well” where we are refreshed by Jesus is found in the Sacraments. How blessed we are to have the Sacraments of Eucharist and Confession readily available. Renewed by our encounter with Jesus in these Sacraments, we are filled with His love, hope, and peace. That leads us to become “wells” of love, mercy, and compassion through, with, and in Him. It is His wisdom, truth, unconditional love, and desire to sacrifice that renews, refreshes and redirects us. There is an old expression that says “You have come to the well once too often.” The fact is we can never come to the well of God’s love often enough.
I offer Psalm 65 for your prayerful reflection.
To you our praise is due
in Zion, O God.
To you we pay our vows,
you who hear our prayer.
To you all flesh will come
with its burden of sin.
Too heavy for us, our offenses,
but you wipe them away.
Blessed is he whom you choose and call
to dwell in your courts.
We are filled with the blessings
of your house, of your holy temple.
You keep your pledge with wonders,
O God our savior,
the hope of all the earth
and of far distant isles.
You uphold the mountains with your strength,
you are girded with power.
You still the roaring of the seas,
(the roaring of their waves,)
and the tumult of the peoples.
The ends of the earth stand in awe
at the sight of your wonders.
The lands of sunrise and sunset
you fill with your joy.
You care for the earth, give it water;
you fill it with riches.
Your river in heaven brims over
to provide its grain.
And thus you provide for the earth;
you drench its furrows;
you level it, soften it with showers;
you bless its growth.
BACK TO LIST
You crown the year with your goodness.
Abundance flows in your steps;
in the pastures of the wilderness it flows.
The hills are girded with joy,
the meadows covered with flocks,
the valleys are decked with wheat.
They shout for joy, yes they sing.