Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Woman, A Well, and the Word!



In 2004, the revolutionary work of the renowned Japanese scientist, Dr. Masaru Emoto, was published in a book entitled, The Hidden Messages in Water.  He discovered that molecules of water are affected by our thoughts, words and feelings. He showed in his research, that when ice forms under positive conditions, (that is, when water is exposed to positive and loving words) then the ice crystals form complex, colorful snowflake patterns.  Then again, he showed that when it is exposed to negative conditions, the crystals that form are incomplete and dull in color. Since humans and the earth are composed mostly of water, his message is one of personal health, global environmental renewal, and a practical plan for peace that starts with each one of us.  His findings imply that we can positively impact the earth. 

In Sunday’s reading from Exodus, God’s hidden message in the water from the rock was that God was present in their midst totally and tenderly. The story recounts the murmuring of the people in the wilderness and the miracle of life-giving water from the rock. Truly, the people thirsted, yet rebelled against Moses and lacked trust in God. 

Here for these desert people, the messages hidden in the water invited them into a deeper awareness that God is truly the one that quenches all thirsts, satisfies all hungers, and fills all emptiness. God was constantly calling them to the Promised Land, but just as constantly, they wanted to go in their own direction. 

In our Gospel, Jesus is in pagan territory, enemy territory, in Samaria where he is absolutely not supposed to be. But as usual, Jesus disregards the rules and breaks through boundaries and borders. He is tired and thirsty, sitting by the ancient well which belongs to Jacob. Then something extraordinary happens. Jesus is approached by a Samaritan woman, engages her in conversation about religion, and opens her mind and heart in ways that he has not done for anyone else. The result is that he completely changes her, transforms her, if you will. He accepts her as she is and asks for her help.He speaks to her about her life and tells her about herself, and she says, “I see you are a prophet.” Jesus invited her to raise her believing beyond the immediate reality of water of the well that satisfies physical thirst to what would satisfy her spiritual thirst. 

In this encounter, Jesus tells her who he is. He opens himself up and reveals himself to her, calling himself, ‘I Am,’ – the name Yahweh gave to Moses in the burning bush. Transformed in her hope, she then can share the joy of her discovery and bring her neighbors to Jesus.  Having fulfilled her task she then moves again into the background. The townspeople no longer need her.  She has brought them to Jesus. The encounter with Jesus had transformed her life, and she had received a gift that no one could take away from her. “For God’s hope does not disappoint, and God’s intimate love has been poured out into her very being."

Now with the grace of love, acceptance, faith, joy, truth, and freedom the hidden messages within her own life-giving well are generously and abundantly shared with all who are willing to encounter this woman.  For now she stands tall in her transformation. Jesus is the “Gift of God” who is Living Water. The secret message in Jesus, the Living Water is that he is the real well!

If we drink from Jesus we will never be thirsty again.  If we make Jesus the center of our lives, we will have a spring of water welling up from within us, giving us life, no matter what is happening around us!

So let us ask this woman of the well to walk with us during these Lenten days.  Let her guide us in our journey of faith, hope, and love, so that we, too, will be open to the “Hidden Messages” of the Life-Giving Water that our God so desires to pour into our hearts.

In closing, the following reflections are by Edwina Gately who places the following words upon the lips of our Samaritan woman.

“He tells me who he is -
The Christ- the one we all await,
The one who is to come, is here!
I am swelling with a joy and freedom I have never known!
There is a rush like cleansing water
Running through me, Leaving me light as air.
I have no need now - For my jar of clay.
I run - With the Living Water!
I run with the Good News entrusted to me –
To me – By the Christ - Who waited for me, received and filled me at the well
Where women gather.
Honored, blessed, Bearer of new life.
First witness of the Christ - Amongst us
Who broke the rules of exclusion,
Who dared to speak to a woman,
Who asked a favor from such as I,
Then chose me,
Chose me,
The woman
To run, oh, so filled up,
With such Good News."


P.S . According to Orthodox tradition, the Samaritan woman was renamed Photini, "Equal to the Apostles,” and went on to witness in Africa and Rome before being martyred for her faith.

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