Friday, December 3

Pillar of Faith: The Samaritan Woman

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In the Gospel of John there is talk of a great encounter between Jesus and a Samaritan woman. The woman at Jacob’s well was having one of those horrible God days. In fact, his life was a series of terrible days of God.


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She fell in love, was married five times, and the man she was living with at the moment was not her husband. His heart was like yours and mine, seeking love and commitment. Unfortunately, he went to all the wrong places. She was a Samaritan woman. Now the Jews and the Samaritans disagreed. They were shunned, thrown aside, and looked down upon as if they were outside the circle of the elect. An outsider.

Not only was she rejected by the Jews as a Samaritan. She suffered an even worse fate. One that cuts closer to the bone. She was rejected, cast aside by her own people because of her past. She went to Jacob’s well, yes, but she traveled alone. “In the heat of the midday sun.” Others would have left earlier when the heat was not so oppressive. It was oppressed by the Jews. Oppressed by the Samaritans, oppressed by the heat but mostly oppressed by the weight of her own past.

The Samaritan woman was thirsty. But her thirst for water wasn’t as strong as her thirst for acceptance, understanding, a thirst for a place to belong.

You and I could get into this story at any time. There are times when we shy away, we block others. Sometimes those we reject are in our own homes. We close people at work, church, or in the staff room. We are all capable of a silent treatment: the coldness, the sideways glance and the rolling eyes. We can block others, crush dreams and plans sometimes because of what we do and other times because of what we don’t do.


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The story of the Samaritan woman is our story. We all want to belong somewhere. To have a place, a set of relationships where I am accepted and loved along with all my dirty clothes and extra luggage. We can all thirst for a place where height, weight, color, creed accent, sexual orientation, past or present, work or no work does not matter. It makes no difference.

And Jesus comes and sits down by the well. In the longest recorded conversation of Jesus with someone in Scripture, Jesus validates it.

If you didn’t remember anything but that word Validation – It’d be enough. The most important thing we can give another person is our time and attention. They are the most expensive and life-giving gifts you will ever give, because once they are gone, they are gone.

It was because she was recognized, accepted, and affirmed that she felt safe enough to open her heart and life to this Jew. Jesus lifts the burdens of his life in the middle of the noonday sun. He freely gives you a welcome, a sense of belonging, a sense of dignity and self-worth.

How do we validate other people? Who validates you? Who validates me? The cornerstone of that relationship is a listening posture. Do I listen in such a way that others love to talk?

Jesus speaks to him of the living waters. It tells you about hope, promise, and a better tomorrow. We can be thirsty for a connection to something, someone beyond ourselves.

We, the entire human race, are thirsty. Thirst for truth, justice and a sense of fair play. We want someone listens . In a world that criticizes prayer, faith, and commitment, learn that when Jesus listens, living water flows from Him.


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Jesus uses water at key moments 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 has drunk 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 on us.

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

When the woman came to the well Jesus, the personification of living water, said simply: “Give me to drink.” Our Savior will also speak to us with a voice that we recognize when we come to Him, because He knows us. It finds us where we are. Validate our life. And for who He is and what He has done for us, He understands.

Leo English / St. Joseph Catholic Church



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