Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The woman in today’s Gospel needs Our Lord but she is completely unaware of the healing mercy and love of God. Her life, like her water jug, is empty. Even though we don’t know everything about her, we do know she had a difficult life.
First of all, she is a woman in a culture that was not easy for women. We also know that she has been married five times, and now she has another man in her life who is not her husband. How did this happen? Did some of them die? Were they abusive? Did they divorce her? Did she leave them? We don’t know. But any woman in that circumstance would not have been treated well and she was definitely not seen as a victim by others. She is alone.
To make things even worse, she is a Samaritan. St. John’s Gospel reminds us that there is tension between Jewish people and Samaritans. They did not mingle well.
So this woman with a difficult past, this woman who has a lot of baggage now arrives at a well all by herself. She did not go to the well looking for an encounter with the living God. She just wanted to fill her jar with water. We know she came in the heat of the day. Perhaps she wanted to hide from the rest of the village women, who came to the well at morning or evening. I’m sure she wasn’t looking for Jesus. But the good news is that Jesus was looking for her.
This woman, with so many strikes against her, receives some of the most profound insights that Jesus ever gave to a human being. And remember – she did not go to the well looking for spiritual insights. She went to fill her bucket. But Jesus was there, to fill her heart, mind and soul.
Maybe you don’t think that you are looking for Jesus. But Jesus is always looking for you. He always finds what He is looking for. Bring Him your empty self. Let Him fill you with His love and mercy.
Fr. Don Kline