There is a lot going on in this Gospel story from John. Jesus is alone, no disciples are with him and we’re not told why they’ve all gone off to buy food, leaving no one with him. Mediterranean people are very social, no one is ever left alone. Having a private moment just wasn’t done. Leaving someone alone in this culture was unthinkable.
Not only is Jesus left alone, but he’s in a Samaritan town - alone. This is a town is in an area where Jews would not normally travel, especially alone. Samaritans and Jews did not mix. While they shared a common faith, they did not share common practices. Pious Jews did not associate with Samaritans. They looked upon them as inferior, second class persons.
Even the time of day is significant, about noon. Morning or evening were the normal times of day when women would draw water from the well. This woman too is alone. She comes to the well at noon, a time of day when no one, but Jesus was around. From the time of day and her being alone we may conclude that she was socially shunned by the other women of her community – she was an outcast from her society because she was, as we find out – a sinner – a shameless woman.
Which brings us to a part of the conversation Jesus has with this Samaritan woman. While this is a story about moving from unbelief to belief and evangelization, it is also, a story about thirst, longing and satisfaction.
Jesus begins his conversation with this woman by asking for a drink of water to quench his thirst, he winds up revealing to her that He is the living water that will quench her thirst forever. He reveals to her the truth about her own thirst – an emptiness that keeps her unfulfilled, unsatisfied. He tells her the story of her fruitless search to satisfy her longings, her thirst – her search for satisfaction in life through worldly relationships. He has what she seeks – something that will give her what she desires most - a relationship that is fulfilling, whole, everlasting and complete – satisfying her thirst and longing forever.
His living water is what she has searched for all her life. Jesus offers her something that she could not find in her five failed marriages and which continues to elude her in her present worldly relationship. Jesus reveals to her that He is the one she seeks – the Christ – the one she has been searching for, longing for throughout her life.
She is astounded by what Jesus says to her and rushes off to tell everyone in her town. She, who was lost – is now found. She moves from outcast sinner to evangelizer – one who has faced the deepest truth about herself and her unrewarding attempts to fill the void, the emptiness in her life. She now comes to know the truth. Her joy and the fulfillment she seeks rests in Him - Jesus, the Christ. Rejoicing, she rushes off to share what she has seen and heard with everyone she meets. Her brokenness is healed by Jesus – in him she has found what the world could not give her – a living water that quenches her thirst and satisfies her longing: filling the emptiness within her.
In this Lent, this time of reflection and repentance, we are called to examine how we are “Looking for love in all the wrong places,” as the Johnny Lee song goes. We search for what will fulfill our longing and make us whole in the distractions of this world. Do not be blind to the truth of who Jesus is and how He will satisfy us when we come to know him. He is the Word made flesh. In him we will find healing of our brokenness. In him we will find fulfillment and be satisfied. He will give us our fill of His Living Water that will quench our thirst forever and ever. ~Amen
Deacon Don Ron