Out of all the many places I love to visit in San Francisco, Lands End has an extra pull on the strings of my heart. It’s an experience to see the ocean and to realize its enormity put up against the frailty of my own life, my own insignificance in the larger universe created by a loving God.
Yet, even in this moment of great transition in my life, I know with certainty that God can generously quench my thirst and satisfy my hunger. All I have to do is gaze out into the ocean and see that all of it was created for me, his beloved son. It was created so that I may praise him for the wonder of who he is. It was created for us to see how massive his love and how extravagant his mercy. And that in my communion with him at the Eucharist, I know him more deeply.
Aware of my thirst, I think of the Samaritan woman in today’s Lenten Gospel. Jesus enters into a relationship with her, asking her for a drink, listening to her questions.
All throughout this relationship that starts at the well of Jacob, a place outside of holy Jerusalem, something epic happens in the heart of this unnamed Samaritan Woman. As she enters into these conversations with Jesus she first acknowledged him as a prophet (John 4:19), then a Messiah (John 4:25), and at the end of the story, the samaritans profess him as savior (John 4:42).
Reading her story is refreshing. Jesus fills her with the exuberant joy of the early Church. Her theology of Jesus had not been perfected, she still had questions, she still sought to understand, yet with all these questions, she ran to tell her community about the living water!
In her encounter with Jesus, she came to understand that our Lord understood her brokenness, her past, her adultery, and still wanted her because he thirsted for her. In her encounter with Jesus, she knew she no longer had to pull water from the stagnant well of Jacob for she met the raging torrent of living water, the raging torrent of Mercy, the raging torrent of God’s nearness in the face of Jesus Christ.
God’s love for me is a raging torrent seeking to fill my longing for him. Seeking to quench that desire to find my place within the Church.