19 Mar 2017

Spiritual Rehydration - The Woman at the well

Cross posted from Pilgrims Progress:
Sometimes we need precisely that moment where we catch a glimpse of our own reflection and realise that the face that looks back at us is sad, tired and confused and needs to be hydrated from the wellspring of life, the encounter with Living Water, Jesus Christ. After the encounter with Jesus at the well, the Samaritan woman becomes a well-woman. Then, the reflection which she sees is that of a beloved child of God, beloved of the Father.

It took a while for her to get to that place where she could feel that. Yet, without realising it, she is like the empty water jug which she carries. It is ready to be filled. She is a container to be filled with the living water which gushes forth from the wellsprings of life. First she hesitates, she focuses on the law. Jesus focuses on grace. Jews weren't supposed to speak to Samaritans. More so, men weren't permitted to address women without their husbands present. And "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman," she reminded him. "How can you ask me for a drink?" (John 4:9).

If we're honest with ourselves, we're not very different. It can take us a lifetime to believe that anyone would want to seek us out, talk with us, hear our story, acknowledge our hunger and thirst for something more. We can find excuses, focus on stereotypes, customs or prejudices. Jesus focuses on love, compassion and mercy. We are often dehydrated without even realising.

"If you knew the gift of God … " (John 4:10). Do I know the gift of God? Do you know the gift of God? What do we thirst for? Many people thirst for meaning in life. Do we strive for popularity and acceptance? Are you longing to belong? We’re often reminded of what we lack when we search for our self-worth in others. A thirst for love and intimacy is often behind that search. Trying to satisfy our thirst can be difficult. Striving for perfection in relationships can be a constant struggle. That unquenchable thirst seems like it will always be a part of us. But it doesn’t have to be. The gift of God, his Son Jesus Christ, is being offered to us every day, every moment. But first of all, we need to accept the truth about ourselves. Jesus gently but firmly tells the woman at the well about her life, encouraging her towards change. It is not to judge or to castigate but to move her towards that fullness of life promised later in John's Gospel (Jn 10-10). She is free to choose.

There are so many articles and websites out there about the benefits of proper  hydration and drinking more water is one of the safest, healthiest ways to detox the body. For many of you reading this, if you're thirsty, you just turn on the tap and fill up a glass of water and drink it. Simples. There is no reason to be dehydrated but yet often we are. I confess, I'm not always the best for drinking water but one of  my Lenten resolutions has been to be more attentive to this. It reflects the spiritual thirst too which I carry and the commitment to aligning my life more to Christ by hydrating with the Word of God and the Sacraments, healthy relationships and as well as detoxing sin and unhealthy habits.

Jesus is thirsty....we see him expressing this very human need. We will hear him vocalise this need even more poignantly on the cross as he cried out: "I thirst". This Sunday as we look at our own emotional and spiritual thirst, let us be mindful of our brothers and sisters throughout the world who lack clean and running water and for whom thirst is a daily reality.

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