Reflecting on John 4: 5-42
It’s all about water, really. The Hebrews who followed Moses out into the desert thirsted for it, and badgered Moses for it for forty years. That’s some powerful thirst. Twelve hundred years later, another thirst—to be deeply known by another—was met as Jesus conversed with the Woman at the Well. That’s what compelled her to race away, leaving her water jar behind, to tell everyone she could find about this stranger who told her everything she ever did. As St. Paul writes, “Now I know in part, but then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (I Cor. 13: 12).
That’s what Jesus gave that unnamed woman. As John Kavanaugh, SJ has written, “He was the Unknown who would know her most deeply.” She had some detours in her life, but her encounter with Jesus transformed her from that isolated woman at the well into the Spirit-filled apostle who fell in love with Love.
And don’t miss this. The Jewish community hearing this story would have nodded their heads and chuckled. Here comes the betrothal, they would say. They’re right. Isaac’s future wife Rebecca meets his marriage broker Eleazar at a well. Jacob meets his future wife Rachel at a well. Moses rescues future wife Zipporah from harassing shepherds at a well. And Jesus betrothes himself to all isolated, lonely, thirsty people when he meets the Samaritan woman at the well.
As Mother Teresa famously noted, the “I thirst” Jesus whispered from the cross must be understood in its true and eternal context: I thirst for you. He thirsts for us still.
You are beloved. You are deeply desired by Jesus. Drink that in.
Whom will you tell about the love of Jesus this week?
Kathy McGovern ©2020