Enjoy these two reflections:
2. Reflection from Sr. Petra:
She responds to Your request for a drink with some bewilderment: It doesn’t make sense socially or religiously for You to speak to her. In inviting us—to pray, to respond to our vocations, to seek union—we also feel the dissonance between our view of the world (and of ourselves) and what You’re doing.
You lead her further… “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.” You’re opening before her another way, another path: her response to Your request could be like a doorway. You’re offering a quenching to her thirst that goes beyond this world, deeper than the desires of mere flesh. You’re letting a ray of Your identity penetrate her darkness—begging her to ask the question: Who are You?
She responds accordingly, curious in her thirst. How will You do this, having nothing with which to draw water? Are You greater than Jacob? She wants, needs, further revelation and reassurance before she opens herself to You. The burden of action is back on Your shoulders. She responds, but You must direct this encounter.
And yet, for all Your leading, Your reply isn’t really an answer to her questions. “Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” You’ve gently lifted her desire heavenward. For a moment, she forgets her puny, earthly questions. You’ve danced with her into the realm of the Spirit.
She responds from a heart moved beyond worldly constraints. Eyes off herself, no longer weighing You against logic, her heart cries in eager hope, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw!” She wants freed from more than the inconvenience of drawing water: She aches to be free of the shame that enfolds her as she walks to the well alone in the heat of the day, in order to avoid the condemnation of the “respectable” women.
Knowing the throbbing wound behind her request, You go there, knocking on the door behind which her shame crouches. “Go, call your husband and come here.” You aren’t playing with her, or tricking her into confessing for legal necessity. You are moving to open her capacity to receive You, this gift You are.
“I have no husband.” She can’t bring herself to unveil the painful truth. At that point, such a confession is beyond her ability to utter. And so—You do it for her, relieving her of the burden: “You are right…” And You speak the terrible truth of her deeds: they take form between you. This must be; there is no other way to union.
She tries to deflect this solid history, to remove herself—her heart—from the conversation. “Lord, I perceive You are a prophet.” Then she turns to the shield of theological controversy, a vain effort to cover her spiritual nakedness. She implies a concrete, external question (where is the proper place to worship?). Is she also trying to robe herself in the illusion of respectability? See, she seems to say, I care about such things! Perhaps she’s also trying to distance herself from You in self-protection, by bringing to the fore all the deep divisions between you, Jewish Man, and Samaritan woman.
You move through that strategy as though through a spider’s web, guiding her back to the heart of this whole exchange, to Your Heart for her: to worship, the restoration of man’s union with God. “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth…” You reply to her query as though, yes, worship has significance even for her, fallen as she is. Once more, she retreats. “I know that Messiah is coming; when he comes, he will show us all things.” As though to say, I don’t need to deal with this now. Let it wait for another day.
The urgency of Your love—the Truth—pierces her last defense. Heedless of the shame that bound her minutes before, she rushes into town, bearing witness. Many come to believe in You because of her testimony—because You sought her in love, pursuing her gently yet inexorably. You are not rebuffed by our resistance. Again and again, You move to woo Your bride. Locked in our prisons of shame, pain, and sin, we can’t reach You, we can’t seek You. So You seek us. You knock on the door of our cells and offer the key of love—love unto death, Love that trampled Death, the jailer of our souls.
When I feel the lie that it all depends on me, remind me, Lover of Mankind, that You’ve taken the lead, You’re taking the lead, and You’re leading me back to the Garden where we may drink deeply of Love.