In Sunday’s Gospel Jesus encounters a woman of Samaria at Jacob’s well. It is noontime, and Jesus is thirsty. He asked the woman for a drink and she reacts in shock. Why? Because Jewish men just absolutely did not talk with an unaccompanied woman who was also considered to be a heathen.
It was noon, the hottest part of the day. Who goes to the well at such a time to draw water?Someone who doesn’t want to see anyone else. This well was a lifeline for the people, but it was deserted at that noon. The woman was hiding from others because she was ashamed of her life. Jesus knows her shameful secret: she has had five husbands.
Like the Samaritan woman, we get caught up in our fear and our guilt and we focus on ourselves and our sin.We can all think of things in our lives that we are ashamed of and we hide. So we hide from others and from God’s love.
Lent isn’t really about us. If we only focus on our own sin, Lent becomes a self-absorbed exercise. But what if we change the focus from ourselves, to God’s love?Then, we come into the amazing awareness that even though we are sinners, we are loved incredibly by God. Then we become people who are drawn back to that love and to our God.
Remember the story about a father teaching his young daughter to swim. She stood at the edge of the pool and her dad was in the water. “Jump in!” he invited. But she saw all of water and was afraid. Jump in! But she couldn’t. Then he said to her, “Look at me. Look at me. Watch my eyes. Jump.” And she did it. Suddenly her focus wasn’t on the water and her fear … but on her father.
God is saying to us, “Look at Me! Don’t focus on your guilt or your fears!Jump into My arms and let Me love you!”God is inviting us to jump into the deep water into a close and loving relationship.
Jump into the water, my friend!
Fr. Herb, C.S.C.