Today we hear the story of the Samaritan Woman at the well and her encounter with Jesus. We’ll get to that in a moment.
As we know, water is absolutely necessary for life, so much so that it is recommended that we drink at least 64 ounces of water a day. For us in the USA, water is close at hand. In the water bottle we have with us or the faucet not too far away. But in the time of Jesus this was not the case. Water was obtained from the nearest well.
And so here is this Samaritan Woman obtaining water, the essence of physical life — but little does she know that her daily effort would bring her to the waters of eternal life in Jesus.
During the time of Jesus there were strict rules regarding encounters of men and women not of the same family. Men and women that were not related did not talk or have any association with one another in public. Add to this that Jews (Jesus was Jewish) and Samaritans (the women is a Samaritan) had been the bitterest of enemies for centuries.
But yet, the two sit, talk, and listen to one another. Through their mutual acceptance of the other, the walls, boundaries, hostilities and hatred melts away and disappears.
The Samaritan woman comes to understand who Jesus is. At first Jesus is a Jew, to be despised and hated, but as they speak she comes to believe he is a prophet (because he knows of her marital history: five husbands and the one she is with is not her husband) and as Jesus continues to speak, she comes to believe he is the Messiah.
But it does not end there. The woman who has met Jesus, who has come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, whose life is changed – rushes off to tell others about Jesus, who they will eventually come to know personally and believe is the Messiah.
Simply put, this woman was changed by her encounter with Jesus. It changed her life, she found what was “missing” and had to tell others about Jesus.
You’ve got to believe that it did not stop there.
You’ve got to believe that this gift of faith revealed by this encounter with Jesus led this Samaritan Woman and others to make faith a priority in their lives.
Making faith a priority in our life… Lent asks us to reflect upon this question.
How are we as a person, family and Parish making our faith a priority in our lives?
How is our life, how can our lives, be an invitation to others to come and know the source of life and eternal life: Jesus, the Son of God; Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
An invitation that comes through the daily lives we live of personal prayer, weekly Mass, the living of the Sacraments we receive, our growing in knowledge of our faith, our service to others and on the list goes.
Put another way: Do people know we are a person and family who are Catholic and practicing, living our faith is a priority?
Making faith a priority in our lives may at times mean making some changes in our schedules, in our lives as one person shared recently, “we give up things we love for things we love even more.”
Many of us were baptized as infants and simply inherited our faith. But there is a point, especially as adults, when we need to re-examine and recommit ourselves to our Baptismal Promises — to say yes to Christ and to live as his Disciples, (again and again and again). Even if we have made an adult commitment to Christ, we sometimes lose our way and find ourselves thirsty, disoriented, and unsatisfied, and we drift toward wells of superficial pleasures, quick fixes and strange gods.
This week are called to come to the well of life-giving water, to spend time with Jesus, to bring our questions, burdens, and sinfulness and to ask Christ to draw us even closer to our merciful God and Father.
May faith and the living of our faith be and become more and more a priority in our lives as person, family and Parish.