EX 17: 3-7
PS 95: 1-2, 6-7, 8-9
ROM 5: 1-2, 5-8
JN 4:42, 15
JN 4:5-42 or JN 4:5-15, 19B-26, 39A, 40-42
Whenever I reflect on the readings, particularly the Gospels, I try to place myself in the scene to get a sense of what is going on. In today’s story of the Samaritan woman at the well, I picture her with her head hung, not making eye contact with Jesus. She’s been burdened with sin, and shame a feeling that those around her have given up on her. She clutches her water jar tightly. I picture Jesus looking back at her with mercy in his eyes hoping to catch hers and offering his hand to her to let her jar go.
We’ve all had our ‘woman at the well moments’. We’ve gone down paths in our lives we know we shouldn’t have. We’ve experienced pain and loneliness and try to fix these problems ourselves without letting God in. These feelings can, and maybe have, lead us astray and cause resentment towards God. Like the woman, we wonder how can God be pleased with us?
This story tells us just how much God loves us. Through all the messes in our lives, He loves us. We hunger and thirst for Him and through Jesus we find God’s selfless love for us. Nothing matters to God more than us, his children—obstacles and all! He never gives up on us. He never stops thinking about us. He reaches out to us—are we open to hear what He has to say?
One way to experience God’s love for us, especially during this season of Lent, is to partake in the sacrament of reconciliation. If God can love and forgive us, we too can love and forgive ourselves. We all have a past. Jesus came to die for us so we wouldn’t be stuck with our sinful past! When our sins our forgiven in the confessional, they’re gone! Lent is a time for conversion, a time to leave our sins behind us. God wants to encounter all of us including our messy past so He can free us. Pray about seeking that mercy in confession this Lent. Whether it’s been a few weeks or a few years now is the time to go. Let Him help you forgive yourself.
Let us try to be like the woman; drop our jars, take the water that will satisfy us for all eternity, and move forward.
Lindsey Joyce is an adjunct faculty member in the simulation lab at the School of Nursing.