The whole thing started when Jesus asked a woman for a drink of water. It was high noon. The sun was intense. Jesus was tired. His disciples left him there alone so that they could buy provisions in the little town nearby. After a bit of time, a woman came to draw water. He didn’t have a bucket so he asked her to give him some water. She wasn’t nice at all. She snapped at him. “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink!?” A simple request ignited a long-standing hostility – Jews and Samaritans hated each other. He responded to her in a very strange way. “If you knew who I was you’d ask me for ‘living -water,’ and I would lead you to the spring of eternal life.”
Things got stranger. He asked her to call her husband. When she said she had none, he proceeded to tell her all about her life and the husbands she’d had. The reason she came alone to the well during the hottest time of the day was to avoid the other women of the town who were probably hostile towards her because of her life.
She gasped. “You’re a prophet!” But she quickly jumped back to the old antagonism. “You Jews condemned us for building our own temple.” He gently told her that a day was coming when everyone’s heart would be a temple, and then everyone would worship in spirit and truth.
Every time he spoke, something within her was consoled, something was healed.
She didn’t feel so isolated, so unwanted, so unacceptable. She got chills. Looking straight into his eyes she said, “When the Messiah comes he’ll teach us everything.” Could her hunch about this man be correct? He returned her gaze. “I am he.” She gasped.
His disciples returned at that very moment. She left him and ran back to town to tell everyone that she had found the Messiah. They returned with her and, when they saw him, believed what she had told them. They opened their hearts to him, “You’re the savior of the world!”
Today we share this story with our catechumens, the men and women who will be baptized and brought into the Church at Easter. They’ve been longing for that same “living water.” By our sharing the woman’s story with them today, we’re sharing our own stories as well. In our own way each of us met him during the heat of the day as we were searching, either consciously or subconsciously, for living water.
In our personal reflection today, let’s call to mind how we met him. What were the circumstances? Who were the people or events that led us to discover him? What spiritual blocks were removed so that we could let him into our lives? Even though we’ve been baptized we’re still searching for him. Every day is an opportunity to meet him in the heat of that day. Every day we have an opportunity to listen to his words of consolation and healing. Every day we can open our hearts to him. Every day we can point those who are thirsty and searching to the well of living water.