Message from Rev. Carmen
|Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on March 8, 2023 at 5:05 PM|
In our Wednesday morning Bible Study this week, we discussed the Gospel lesson for Sunday – the story of Jesus and the woman at the well in Chapter 4 of John’s Gospel. It has always been one of my favorite Jesus stories. Our discussion took me back to my 2014 visit to the well. Thirsty pilgrims who visit can still pull up a bucket of water and taste it, fresh from the source.
The Samaritan woman must have been so startled and confused by the mysterious behavior of this weary but talkative Jewish man hanging out by the well. His entourage would have considered their conversation taboo, but those guys were off running errands. In speaking with her, Jesus disregards multiple conventions of ancient society, but he does not seem overly concerned about this. He’s not worried about the woman’s gender or her religious/ethnic identity or even her seemingly questionable romantic history. Rather, he seems more concerned that she understand his history, his identity—as the Christ, the Messiah. He desires that she recognize him as God. She’s tentative at first, acknowledging him as a prophet who knows the truth about her. Then Jesus proclaims his own divinity to her again and she begins to believe that this odd man might really be who he says he is.
Read the story for yourself (John 4:5-42) and observe that Jesus is the thirsty one, at first. Fully human, he is as susceptible to the fatigue of a long journey as you and I. But rather than helping himself to a drink, he asks the woman to serve him. While he may be physically thirsty at that moment, he recognizes that the woman is spiritually thirsty—aching for acceptance, for meaning, for love. In asking for a drink of water, Jesus gives her the opportunity to know and be known by God, which quenched a thirst in her she didn’t even know she had.
How might Jesus be doing the same for you today?
A prayer for anyone thirsting in the wilderness:
God, you are the Living Water and you are also the Wellspring, the source from which it flows. Sometimes you come to us in the form of a stranger, startling us with your mysterious ways, which are not our ways. We thirst for acceptance, for meaning, for love, and for the opportunity to serve you. Today, we ask that you surround us with your healing embrace and help us find some relief from this thirst. And we thank you because some day, through eternal life in your Son, we will thirst no more. Amen.