Chronicle of Faith: The Samaritan Woman

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In the Gospel of John, we are told of a great meeting between Jesus and a Samaritan woman. The woman at Jacob’s well was having one of those horrible days. In fact, his life was just a series of terrible days for God.

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She fell in love – she got married five times and the man she was living with now was not her husband. Her heart was like yours and mine in search of love and commitment. She unfortunately went to all the wrong places. She was a Samaritan woman. Now the Jews and the Samaritans did not hesitate. They have been cast aside, cast aside, despised as being out of the circle of the elect. A stranger.

Not only, as a Samaritan, was she rejected by the Jews. She suffered an even worse fate. The one that cuts closer to the bone. She was rejected – put aside by her own people because of her past. She went to Jacob’s well, but she traveled alone. – in the heat of the midday sun. Others would have left earlier when the heat was not so overwhelming. She was oppressed by the Jews. Oppressed by the Samaritans, Oppressed by heat but above all oppressed by the weight of its own past.

The Samaritan woman was thirsty. But his thirst for water was not as strong as his thirst for acceptance, for understanding – a thirst for a place to belong.

You and I could get into this story at any time. There are times when we avoid – we block others. Sometimes the ones we avoid are in our own homes. We shut people down at work, at church or in a staff room. We are all capable of the silent treatment – the cold shoulder, the sidelong gaze, and the rolled eyes. We can block others, crush dreams and plans sometimes by what we do and sometimes by what we fail to do.

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The history of the Samaritan woman is our history. We all want to belong somewhere. Having a place – a set of relationships where I am accepted and loved with all my dirty laundry and extra baggage. We can all crave a place where height, weight, color, accent of belief, sexual orientation, past or present, work or no work does not matter. It doesn’t make a difference.

And Jesus comes and sits by the well. In Jesus’ longest recorded conversation with anyone in the scriptures, Jesus validates it.

If you had to remember nothing but this word Validation – that would be sufficient. The most important thing we can give to another person is our time and attention. These are the dearest, most exhilarating gifts you can give, because once they’re gone, they’re gone.

It was because she was recognized, accepted and affirmed that she felt secure enough to open her heart and her life to this Jew. Jesus lifts the burdens of his life in the midst of a midday sun. He freely gives him a welcome – a feeling of belonging – a feeling of dignity and self-esteem.

How to validate the others? Who validates you? Who validates me? The cornerstone of this relationship is an attitude of listening. Am I listening in such a way that others like to talk?

Jesus spoke to her about living waters. He talks to her about hope, promise and a better future. We can be desiccated for connection with something – someone beyond ourselves.

We – the whole human race – are thirsty. Thirst for truth, justice and fair play. We want someone Listen . In a world that rises against prayer, faith, and commitment, learn that when Jesus listens, living water flows from Him.

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Jesus uses water at key times because we understand that we cannot live without it. At Calvary – the proof that Jesus had given everything – blood and water flow from his side. The Samaritan woman drank the same living water. The living water that Jesus offers at Jacob’s well is offered to us at our own baptism. Our first acceptance of God’s unconditional love – poured out upon us.

As Advent quickly approaches with many challenges facing us and the world, the gospel provides assurance that Jesus offers comfort and solace to our thirst. We can quench the thirst of others by first validating who they are as brothers and sisters and children of God. What Jesus offers to the woman at the well, he offers to us.

When the women Came to good , Jesus, the embodiment of living water, simply said: “give me to drink”. Our Savior will also speak to us in a voice that we recognize when we come to him, for he knows us. He meets us where we are. It validates our life. And because of who He is and what He has done for us, He understands.

English Lion / St. Catholic Church of St. Joseph

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