Some time ago, there was an enterprising young woman who had a very intelligent Golden retriever dog. She spent years training that dog to speak and tell jokes. She and her dog were once invited to appear on a popular late-night television show. This was a wonderful opportunity for her and her retriever to become really famous. But on the show, the dog just sat there, not saying a word. It was a disaster! They were dismissed after the next commercial, never to be seen again. Driving home, the woman was very upset and said to her dog, “This was our big chance, and you went silent on me!” The retriever replied, “I'm really sorry, but from where I was sitting I couldn't see the cue cards.”
That dog is not the only one who needs cues. We all do. The woman at the well in today's Gospel was desperate for a cue. Her life choices were bad, her mistakes were many. Five husbands, she had. Now she was working on her sixth! Her life was a thorough wreck!
Then Jesus appeared, ignoring all the cultural rules of the time that men shouldn't talk with women, that Jewish people shouldn't speak with the people of Samaria, and no one should talk about sensitive issues like how many spouses one has had. Ignoring all these rules, Jesus spoke with her, and she with him. He didn't lecture her. He didn't condemn her. He listened to what she said, and then let her know he understood her situation, her loneliness and her longing for a better life. He told her there was more to life than she realized. Then right there at the well, he offered her “living water” that he promised would become a gushing fountain from within her, leaping to abundant life!
That “living water” Jesus offers her is a healthy, wholesome relationship with God, a friendship that changes everything, a hope that eliminates despair, an energy that dispels weariness, a joy that overwhelms sadness. This amazed and amazing Samaritan woman took Jesus at his word, accepted the gift he offered, and her life was instantly changed. She became a disciple of Jesus, bringing his message back to her village to share with the people.
Jesus offers us the same gift of intimacy and friendship with God through living water. And we have a lot of cue cards in front of us! First at our Baptism we are each called by name and claimed as his brothers and sisters. Then at every Eucharist celebration we are invited to intimacy with Jesus through Communion. Again when we express sorrow for our sins and faults, we experience merciful forgiveness time and time again. There is no end to the gifts we are being given. But we must read the cue cards, keep our minds open and our hearts prepared to accept these gifts from this Mighty God, this All-Loving and Gracious God! AMEN!