Lent 3—Woman at the Well

She just wants to fill her bucket and get home before it gets any hotter. The encounter which changes her life comes in the ordinary drudgery—at the well, not the synagogue; in the office, not the church; in the kitchen, not the temple. Almost like finding enlightenment in the frozen food aisle.

But Jesus welcomes desire at the well, indeed, considers it even more important than his own drink. Both the woman and Jesus find so much joy in their conversation, they forget the concerns that brought them here in the first place. He never gets his drink; she abandons her jar. But their deep yearnings meet.

As John Main writes in Word Into Silence, “The consuming desire of Jesus [is] to flood [us] with His Spirit.” (p. 46) Or to give “a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” She’s plucky enough to believe him. She responds to a promise, never seeing this miraculous water nor feeling it spill down her sleeves. Maybe she likes his style: to call, never coerce.

Curious how we might respond? Main, says, “numbed by the extravagance of … New Testament claims… we … tone them down in safe theological formulae.” (p. 44) The woman no longer skulks alone and anonymous to the well at noon, when no one else is there. She blazes into the village like a brass band, eager to speak her truth. Newly come to voice, she snags people, holds them in the hollow of her hand.

The Samaritan woman is a model to us all of how to befriend our longing and move towards trust. Her water jar, symbol of domestic duty, is left in the dust. She herself becomes the vessel for the best news anyone could hear.

3 responses to “Lent 3—Woman at the Well

  1. WONDERFUL! Thank you for yet another amazing reflection

  2. Wow. I think it was the longest conversation between Jesus and another. Longer than recorded conversations with the disciples. She meant something for sure. The first apostle?

  3. Mary Ann Figlini

    Kathy! Brilliant on 2 counts: miracles happen in ordinary settings… not synagogue, church etc. And… she found her voice because she had a message that had to be passed on.
    So.. maybe as you say..”in the frozen food section!”
    Mary Ann Figlino, CSJ

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