I have been watching the newscasts these last few days with the huge waves splashing over ships looking for the lost plane. Water has been such a danger to the crew because the waves are so high. Water can be seen as a life saver to people who are thirsty and need the water to live. We use water every day to cook with, wash dishes and clothes, and to keep us clean and well. In this story water is used as "living water" which means true teaching of Jesus or drink and be saved if we follow the words of Jesus.
In this Gospel reading Jesus asks this woman, a Samaritan woman for a drink of water. This is not allowed in the time of Jesus because this woman is a Samaritan woman and is not allowed to talk or be with a Jewish man. She has been shunned from her village not only because she is a Samaritan but because of her reputation in the village. The village women who gather water never come at noon because it is the hottest time of day. This Samaritan woman has been forced to come at this time because the village women who come in the early morning or the evening when it was cool have been harassing her.
When she was asked by Jesus for a drink she could hardly believe it. No one talks to a woman, a Samaritan woman. Jesus knew all about her. He knew she had five husbands and now has a sixth. Maybe she was forced into the marriages because her own husband was dead. Maybe she had to have men support her in order for her to live. Life was not easy for woman in those times and often in present times. Situations were such that women had to do "unthinkable "and sinful things to survive and provide for her children.
Jesus did not condemn her. He was overjoyed that she wanted to know more about him and his teachings. Jesus does not look to her as a prostitute or sinner. In Jewish law he could be seen as the sinful one because he is talking to a woman, a Samaritan woman. Jesus understood that worship happens when people come to find out more about God and do GodaeTMs will. The cup of water is a symbol of the holy and mysterious ways of God that we will never completely understand. Whether worship of God happens in Samaria or in Jewish places does not matter. Worship of God is the important point. When she asks him if he is the Messiah he answers, yes. Her joy and amazement are overwhelming. Here is a holy man, the Messiah, talking to her and teaching her. The Living water has been poured upon her and she is being transformed. If I was there I would want to shout loudly to everyone: Give me a Cup of Living Water as the Woman at the Well did.
When we drink from the Cup of Living Water we become brand new. This Living waters gives us the courage to speak out loudly if there is injustice. If there is sorrow, we must act out with bold compassion to heal the grief and do what we can. We must act on behalf of others to heal any of the injustices or speak out loudly when good laws have been enacted. It is good to be involved in politics to keep statues that are meaningful and help to change if needed. The active dialogue keeps a good balance and keeps everyone informed and represented.
What did the Samaritan woman teach us today? She told me that I must speak out to ask questions if I do not know what is happening. She told me that I must drink of the Living Water over and over to be able to act with Truth and Wisdom even if the people around me come to other conclusions. She taught me to never be afraid to speak the truth because anything can be forgiven by God.
I treasure a T-shirt and wear it often. It says:
Well-behaved women seldom make history. (Laurel Thatcher Ulrich)
This makes wonderful sense to me. If I do what the church and society and the government always tells me, I am not drinking enough Living Water. It is much easier to do what the crowd, groups, and church are telling me to do than by listening to what God wants me to do. Becoming ordained was a huge step for me to agree to. There were many, many people: lay and ordained, my family, that did not like nor agree with what I was doing. I can so identify with the woman at the well because she wanted to meet this Jesus and live more fully in God.
May we all drink the Living Water until we are satisfied? Our God expects us to always do what is right.