“The woman (at the well) said to him, ‘I know that the Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When He comes, He will show us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He.’ . . . So the woman then left her water jar, and went away into the city, and . . . many Samaritans from that city believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony” (John 4: 25-26, 28, 39).
The woman to whom Jesus offered living water was so touched and so excited that she totally forgot her reason for being at the well in the first place: to draw water in her jar for cooking and cleaning that day. The jar represents what is most important to the woman at this time; essential to her existence was retrieving water.
However, this woman was only at the well in the hot noon hour of the day because she felt too shunned and embarrassed to go in the early hours with the rest of the women. She probably almost turned around and went home when she saw a man sitting at the well, but figured he wouldn’t speak to her anyway. Society at that time dictated that a Jewish man shouldn’t talk to a Samaritan, let alone a woman.
Yet Jesus boldly went against societal norms (as a point to us to not be prejudicial or judgmental in whom we allow ourselves to approach), and gently talked to her and revealed Himself and His divinity to her. Because of what He knew about her without her even telling Him, she believed He was the Messiah and couldn’t wait to go tell the very same neighbors she was trying to avoid.
She left her water jar behind and ran back to the city and proclaimed to anyone who would listen that she met the Lord and they needed to meet Him too. She left behind what was so important to her only moments before, since she was overly satisfied with what Jesus provided her.
She also left behind her prejudices, her anger at their treatment of her, her embarrassment, her shyness, her duties of cooking and cleaning that day because of her enthusiasm of meeting Christ. He filled her with the love of acceptance and the joy of salvation so much that she didn’t need anything else.
Do we do the same? Do we get SO excited to share our story of redemption or answered prayers that we drop everything to reach out?
Do we put down the newspaper to look our husband/child in the eyes when they’re telling a story from their day? Are we going to fast from social media or Netflix this Lent in order to spend more time in prayer? Are we cutting back on working, shopping, or crafting to allow more time at church or with extended family?
As Lent begins, think about what is your “water jar,” the one thing that weighs you down, that distances you from God. What is it that we think is so essential to our existence, when in fact it is taking time away from those we love, strangers we could be serving, or time to grow closer to our Loving Father.
Consider setting aside your jar that can only fill you superficially, and instead pick up the Living Water offered by Jesus. Every day God provides us with a bottomless well of love, mercy and grace, isn’t that worth telling other people about it? Share with someone your story, your desires to change and how you have come to be excited by your love of Jesus. Instead of “liking” a story on Facebook, share a Bible verse that has made a difference in your life.
Later in John’s story Jesus tells His disciples,
“I have food to eat of which you do not know. My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work … the fields are ripe for harvest” (John 4: 32-34).
Just as Jesus’ mercy filled the woman with living water, saving her soul filled Jesus with energy and satisfaction.
Similarly, receiving Jesus in the Eucharist should satisfy and fulfill us every time, energizing us to go out and evangelize with excitement as the Samaritan woman then did. He needs our help for there are so many people out there who need saved and are ready to hear how.
Be encouraged, be brave, be filled with God’s love so that you excitedly share it with the world!
Copyright 2019 Colleen Mallette