Reading I: Ex 17:3-7
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
Reading II: Rom 5:1-2, 5-8
Gospel: Jn 4:5-42 or 4:5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42
“The water will flow,” “the love of God has been poured out,” “the water I shall give will become a spring of water welling up.” The water reference in all three readings today is important because without water we couldn’t survive, the world couldn’t survive. Water covers over 70% of the earth’s surface and water makes up 60-75% of our own human body weight. Think back to high school biology class looking at that pond water droplet and being amazed at all that was living in that one single drop. We even breath water molecules that have been recycled through the sea and sky, rivers, and sinks, for millennia! The unnamed woman in this Gospel story is you, is me, and like living water, this story has been recycled through each of us since that day long ago when Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. Their divine human encounter that day has a lot to teach us. So often, the reflections on this scripture passage focus on what Jesus told her about herself, but I have always been one to ponder the “rest of the story.”
I like to imagine that maybe she went to the well at noon that day, not because she was trying to avoid people, but because her kids knocked over the jug and she needed to fill it back up. Maybe she thought she had enough water for her bread baking but misjudged and had to run back to the well. Have you ever had to run out for milk and eggs to complete a recipe? And, if she was shunned by the town folk causing her to have to go to the well at noon to avoid them, why did they listen to her when she ran and told them about this Jesus? She is you; she is me, with imperfect lives, ongoing daily challenges of one sort or another, appointments and meetings that move us in and out of every Monday. She went to the well that day, just going about her everyday tasks unassumingly, until she met this man who introduced her to another kind of water: living water. It pulsed through her, and she was forever changed by it. She is the first evangelizer, a lay woman. The apostles didn’t recognize it; they weren’t looking through the eyes of encounter the way she did.
Where is your well? Will you recognize those moments of divine human encounter at the grocery store, gas station, the workplace hallway, the street corner waiting for a bus? The same living water that Jesus gave her has been recycled through time and now lives in you, and me. It doesn’t need anything but our willingness to imagine. Let us be the woman at the well! Let us be unnamed! Let us be that living water! Let us leave our jug, no time to waste, no preparation necessary, to run, not walk, to go out and tell the good news! No need to wait for the right time of day, opportunities are all around us just waiting for a divine human encounter. Take the time this week to notice and realize the living water flowing through them. Be the living water the world is thirsting for. Strike the rock and let it flow!
Assistant Dean of Student Life