Peace and grace to you all!
In the first reading, the Israelites’ physical fatigue and thirst reveals the deeper level of their spiritual aridity and lack of faith. This happens even though God has been providing everything that they need in a unique and powerful way. Moses is frustrated with their hardness of heart and their constant doubting, bickering and complaining rather than trusting in God. Change is not easy.
In the Gospel story, Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman and surprises her in a special way. She carries an empty jar to the well each day to satisfy her bodily thirst. But in the encounter with Jesus, it becomes clear that the empty jar also represents her spiritual emptiness. What she thirsts for spiritually is grace and mercy from God. She has had a hard life and she longs for intimacy and fulfillment. She comes to the well at mid-day to avoid the scorn and ridicule of the other townspeople. She quickly discovers that Jesus doesn’t treat her the way other people do. He is kind and understanding toward her. He knows her whole life story with the bad decisions, the embarrassing failures, the mistakes, the losses and the pain. Instead of ridicule and rejection, Jesus offers her a remedy. For her part, she has only to put her faith and trust in him. Her response is to leave the jar behind—her emptiness, pain and spiritual thirst. As she leaves, something has already begun springing up inside of her, it is faith! She believes in Jesus’ love, understanding and care for her! The wellspring within her is the grace and mercy of God flowing upon her life through baptism. We come to realize that Jesus came to the well on that day and at that hour to satisfy the longing that she had for God and to save her from her sins. Jesus came to the well thirsting too. He was thirsting for her faith and trust. We are reminded of our own thirst for God and God’s thirst for our faith and trust in him! This is a change that brings joy. We are also reminded that baptism has brought us into the life-giving waters of grace that flow from God’s faithful love and mercy through Jesus. May God continue to fill you with life-giving water! +++ Fr. Peter