We like movies that takes us from the ordinariness of life into the supernatural. People who can tell the future, levitate, perform magic are the ones who capture our attention.
Jesus took the woman at the well from the ordinariness of her life into the realm of the unexpected. The common human need of being thirsty brought them together. Although people gathered at the well, there were protocols to observe. Men did not talk to women; women did not talk with men. Jesus broke the rules. He asked the “nameless” woman for something that He could have gotten Himself—a drink of water. She was shocked because Jesus acknowledged her presence. Most would have ignored her because she was a woman. More importantly, Jesus was a Jew, and she was a half breed. They observed real “social distancing” without COVID. The Samaritans and the Jews couldn’t stand each other, so they just kept their distance. Jesus not only acknowledged the woman’s presence, He requested a favor. There was probably an awkward moment of silence. Then the woman asked, “Are you supposed to be talking to me? Are you aware of who I am and who you are?” Jesus answered, “Of course I am aware, more than you can possibly imagine.” “I am aware that you need me, more than I need you.” “The need for water will pass but there are other needs which cannot be satisfied at this well.” We can picture the woman listening while she stood nervously wondering what Jesus was going to say next. Jesus then asked her about her personal life. He invited her to bring her husband. “You have had five husbands and the man with whom you live now is not your husband.” Sounds like a modern woman! She was ahead of her time.
What a scene. Nowhere to run. The woman was backed into a corner. She knew that Jesus spoke the truth. The truth is often difficult to handle. That’s why most of us run from the truth, especially personal faults. Even in Confession we try to rationalize our sins. “My spouse made me angry….; I drank too much because of peer pressure…..; my foot gets heavy and before I knew it, I was speeding….” The woman could not make excuses. She could not hide because Jesus knew her. So, she started talking about religion. Religion is a topic that can distract us. Many would rather talk about religion than about themselves. We usually pick on the Pope, or the President, or whatever is wrong with the world. We avoid looking inwardly at the stuff that needs to change in our person.
We need to become the change that we want to see. We waste a lot of energy in making judgements, even on ourselves. Notice that Jesus did not condemn the woman. He reached out to her with compassion, knowing that she needed a friend. Someone who could love her without wanting something in return. Notice that the woman probably never gave Jesus the drink of water. She was so taken with the unconditional acceptance of Jesus that she forgot about herself, she forgot about the conversation, she forgot her water jar. The water jar is symbolic of her “old self”. Her “old self” stayed at the well. The woman became an evangelizer. She ran to the town to speak with anyone who was willing to listen. She told everyone about her encounter with Jesus Christ. How often does that happen in our life? How many times have we spoken to others about what the Lord has done for us? We are very blessed. Just the fact that we are here. Some of us have been on death’s door. Others have experienced severe depression. Many have battled cancer or are still undergoing treatment. But here we are. The opportunity comes to face our truth. We are fragile human beings. Despite our sins God loves us unconditionally. The least we can do is to give witness of His love.
Let’s forget our water jar. We can put aside our agenda. The Lord offers us a better purpose—to speak about Him and His love for each of us.