The most normal thing every human being does, first thing every day, is to use water. In many countries, this still requires a trip to the well, sometimes as much as a mile away.
The Gospel reading tells of the Samaritan woman going to the well to draw water. She thinks that she is just doing the same thing she does every day. But then she has an encounter. A stranger asks her for a drink of water. She is perplexed because he is a Jew and the Jews avoided all contact with the Samaritans. He says “If you knew something of the power that God gives us, and if you knew him who was saying to you: Give me to drink, you would ask of him and he would give you the water of life.” She tells the stranger that she knows that Messiah will come some day and proclaim everything to the people of Israel. And then comes the heart-stopping moment when He says to her: “I am He, speaking to you.”
There are moments when our knowledge, what we know and what we think we know, lights up with the power of the Spirit and an awareness of the Truth. When what you thought is turned on its end or inside out and you see a much greater reality in a situation, or in a person, than you had ever previously imagined, you have encountered this enlivening power.
The “living water” Christ offers her, is the living, moving, quality within us which allows us to readjust to what is presented to us in any given moment. What we thought we were doing, or who we thought we were meeting can reveal its truer reality at any moment. How many times a day could we have the experience with someone we meet: “I am He, speaking to you?”
The element of water is in us, to flow, to meander, to be selfless, to live in a rhythmical way, to allow ourselves to be healed and cleansed, to suffer all of humanities’ stupidity and destruction and to just keep serving: this is what water does. And it remains whole. It retains its identity through it all.
“Living Water” brings us into a different relationship to the world. It requires more skill, more attention than in earlier times. Its source is endless, and it leads us to the center of our hearts, to the center of community life, to the wellspring of true, eternal life.
by Carol Kelly