Living the Gospel – March 15, 2020

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Today’s gospel presents a very visual scene. Can’t you just see it in a movie? Here is Jesus walking along through Samaria—an area which the Jewish people avoided “like the plague” since the Jews and Samaritans were enemies. He didn’t have to travel that way as there were several other routes Jesus could have taken on His journey to Jerusalem. Along comes the Samaritan woman to fill her buckets at the well—at high noon, the hottest time of the day! True, the women were the water bearers, but it was usually a chore scheduled for the cooler early morning or early evening hours.

Jesus begins ever so simply requesting a mere drink of water, He has no cup: A Jewish man asking a Samarian, much less a woman for water, presumably to drink from her cup!

Interest piqued and perhaps somewhat startled, the woman responds. Jesus has set the stage. Bit by bit, gently and sincerely, He earns her trust and she pours out her miserable life story. Though Jesus points out the blunt realities of her life, He is nonjudgmental. He merely states the facts and little by little, the woman begins to believe. Jesus met her where she was at: physically (the well) and spiritually (a sinner who needed His guiding love). Without condemnation, without force He gave her room to grow, room to accept. He offers her “Living Water” which, of course, she doesn’t understand, but she does not refute Him. She listens.

Isn’t that what Jesus does with us—if we give Him the chance? He’ll meet us with all of our faults and failures. He’ll meet us wherever we are at in our life. Sometimes, without our realizing it, He will PUT us where He wants us. If we but listen, He will give us the chance to grow in His love. He will pour out His living waters upon us. How many times have we asked Him to pour out that living water on us—to bath us in His love? And while that is certainly a beautiful prayer, what if we thought of ourselves as sponges? What if, instead of asking Christ to pour His living waters OVER us, we asked Him to let us ABSORB His love, His mercy, His forgiveness?

Sponges are marred with cracks and crevices and Lord knows, so are we! But the cracks and crevices of the sponge give more surface area—more room to absorb. When we come to Christ laying bare all our faults and failures, opening ourselves up to Him, He has more room to work in our hearts. After all, He Himself, said “He came for the sick and the sinner.”

But then, like a sponge, filled with the living waters of His love, we must be used. We must share that love and forgiveness with our brothers and sisters as did the Samaritan woman.

And like a sponge, sometimes we will be “wrung dry” with the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Then all we have to do is ask: “Lord, may I have a cup of water?” And we will again be filled with the Living waters of His love!

Linda Caminiti