Living Water

Last week we were on the top of a high mountain with Peter, James and John. There they had the extraordinary and wonderful experience of seeing Jesus transfigured.

Today Jesus is travelling through hostile territory, the land settled by the Samaritans who have no dealings with the Jews. The disciples, who were travelling with him, leave him alone by Jacob’s Well to go and buy food.

As Jesus rests by the well in the midday sun, a woman comes to draw water and Jesus asks her for a drink. This begins a conversation that eventually leads to the woman leaving her jar by the well and running back to the town, proclaiming to everyone: “Come and see a man who has told me everything I ever did. I wonder if he is the Christ.”

The thirst that Jesus has is not just a physical thirst. But a thirst or desire for this woman to have her own thirst quenched, by the living water that he is offering her. No reason is given why she has had five husbands, nor why she is now living with a man that is not her husband. My guess is she is looking or thirsting for ultimate meaning in a relationship which has not satisfied her.

This encounter with Jesus means that he is able to offer her the one thing that will satisfy the deep longing in her heart. Jesus promises that the water he shall give will turn into a spring inside her, welling up to eternal life. This living water will be truly satisfying.

What a change has taken place in the Samaritan woman after meeting Jesus! She is no longer a lonely figure coming to draw water at the wrong time of day, but has become a person who eagerly runs and calls to others to meet the man who changed her life and can change their lives too.

Those who are to be baptised at Easter (known as the elect) will be at Mass this weekend to celebrate the first of three ‘scrutinies’. These rites are meant:

“to uncover, then heal all that is weak, defective, or sinful in the hearts of the elect; to bring out, then strengthen all that is upright, strong and good.”

Here is the prayer or exorcism that the priest says this Sunday:

God of power, grant that these catechumens, who like the woman of Samaria, thirst for living water, may turn to the Lord as they hear his word and acknowledge the sins and weaknesses that weigh them down. Protect them from vain reliance on self and defend them from the power of Satan. Free them from the spirit of deceit, so that, admitting the wrong they have done they may attain purity of heart and advance on the way of salvation.

Canon Father Anthony Charlton
Canon Father Anthony CharltonParish Priest