Life is life. Is is what it is. We just have to settle for what is given to us. Just okay is okay. We have to accept whatever life throws at us. Too often we settle into a mediocrity in life. We survive and make the best out of what we have to work with. Life can get stale and routine: our jobs get stale, our relationships get stale, our prayer life gets stale and we just do what we have to do to get by. Our lives are like Jacob’s well. Jacob’s well is a cistern that collects water. It is not a source of water, it just gathers and stores water. The water is not fresh but it keeps us alive. Could one ask for more living in the desert of life that we do?
The woman at the well, tradition identifies her as the martyr Photina who went on to preach the gospel tirelessly, had settled for the lukewarm, stale, routine life of existence. Things were not good for her but what can a Samaritan woman expect out of life? Her soul was thirsting for more to life, something better but who are we to want more out of life? What hope do we have for a better life? This woman has chosen social isolation for herself as she comes to draw water in the heat of the day. Jesus meets her in her thirst, in her poverty and in her need. He makes her an offer – “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” The gift of God is his grace that is freely given in abundance. It is the grace of new life and new chances at a better life. The gift of God is adoption into the family of God and a share in the divine life. It is to be a child of God and to receive what is good from his hand. The gift of God is love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness. Jesus offers the Samaritan woman living water, the living water that flows forth from the source of life that is God’s Spirit. Jesus says to the woman, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The water that is in a cistern is old and lifeless water, but the water that comes forth from a spring is new water that is fresh, pure and clean. Jesus offers this woman a fresh and clean start to life and a love that springs forth from the Holy Spirit that dwells within all believers. It is not like what she has experienced with the 5 husbands that woman has had and the emptiness of the relationship she is in now that is more slavery than love. Jesus knows that the soul longs for a true love that is real and life-giving. The Holy Spirit is this new and eternal love in truth that her soul is yearning for. It is the grace of a loving God who gives the gift of divine and eternal life to his children.
This living water, fresh from the source of new life, brings hope to the thirsting soul and as St. Paul tells us in Romans, “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Rom 5,5) It is the new water of life that springs forth from the rock that Moses strikes with his staff at Massah and Maribah. The Fathers of the Church identify this rock as Christ and this rock follows the People of Israel throughout their years in the desert, sustaining them in life.
Are you thirsting for something more in your life? Jesus is the spring of new life, new hope, new opportunity. He sends his Holy Spirit to dwell within our hearts and to be a source of Spirit and Truth welling up for Eternal Life. He is not the old and stale, lifeless water that the world offers but a fresh, clean and pure source of life-giving, living water from the source of the divine life that is poured into our hearts through the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is unlike anything we have ever tasted or experienced in our lives. It is freely given to us by God for it is the gift of God, of his love, mercy and grace. All you who are thirsting, come to the water, drink deeply of God’s love and know the satisfying, thirst quenching gift of life that God has to give you in Christ Jesus.