Samaritan Well

Perhaps you will find this brief essay for Saturday of the Second Week of Lent interesting, or even edifying–even though it was written by the most annoying person in the world…

Jacob's Well
…A little groggy today, since it took the mighty Rams until nearly 1:00 a.m. to send the ‘Noles home to Florida. Robby Robinson took a page from Rich Chvotkin and yelled, “He blocked the shot! He blocked the shot! He blocked the shot!” about seven times, and then “Rams win! Rams win! Rams win!” about twenty times. It was awesome.

…Here’s a homily for the Third Sunday of Lent:

Last week we talked about what salvation is. If you missed last week, I’m sorry. We talked about our father Abraham, Dairy Queen ice-cream treats, Mount Tabor in the Holy Land, and Sophia Loren movies.

Anyway, we do not know yet what heaven is like, but we know that it involves being personally united with God forever.

If we hope to have communion with God in the end, then we probably need to have some kind of communion with Him now, right? Some kind of practice or spring training for the Big Show, so to speak.

Here is an easy question: How do we develop a friendship with the Lord now while we are still here on earth? Easy… You got it: By praying.

Has anyone ever heard of the Catechism of the Catholic Church? Everybody know that the Catechism is divided into four parts, for the four pillars of the Catholic faith?

Part IV of the Catechism concerns prayer. This part of the Catechism begins with the gospel reading about the Samaritan woman at the well.

To pray is like going to a well. Someone who prays opens up his soul to God like a thirsty throat opening up for cool, refreshing water.

When we open up like this, when we go to the well of prayer, we find Christ waiting for us there, like the Samaritan woman did. Upon meeting Him, we discover three amazing things, like the Samaritan woman discovered.

1. While of course we come thirsty to the well of prayer, we discover that the Lord also thirsts. “Give me a drink,” He says. He asks us to slake His thirst.

What do we possess that we can give God to drink? Can we give water to the One Who measures out the depth of the oceans and holds the rain clouds in His hands? Can we hand God an iced tea or a Mountain Dew?

No. The Lord thirsts for one thing and one thing only. He thirsts for our devoted love. On the Cross He opened His arms to us. His throat was parched. He said to each of us, “I thirst. I thirst for you.”

2. When we come to the well of prayer, the well of our father Jacob, dug in the Holy Land for God’s chosen people to drink from—when we come to this well of prayer, we discover, like the Samaritan woman did, that the Lord Jesus has living water for us to drink. He pours out a fresh spring which wells up to eternal life. When we humbly beg for God’s help in prayer, the Holy Spirit pours into our hearts, filling us with gifts and fruits, enabling us to pray.

But this is Jacob’s well, after all. So we have to be willing to imitate Jacob. As we read in Genesis, Jacob struggled all night in the darkness. Some unknown foe wrestled with him, but Jacob refused to give in. Then, in the morning, Jacob received the blessing he sought, and a new name. The Lord called him Israel, because he persevered in his struggle through the dark night.

To pray in the Holy Spirit, we have to be willing to persevere through a dark struggle, too. The Holy Spirit is infinite divine love, but love can be rough. The Holy Spirit doesn’t send Hallmark cards, and He exudes no scented potpourri. He lifts us up to dizzying, frightening, unfamiliar heights.

3. The third thing that we discover when we meet Christ at the well of prayer is this: The Lord Jesus is the Messiah Who makes it possible for us to worship the Father in spirit and in truth.

Human beings are naturally inclined to pray. But we also know that our prayers can be in vain. If we want our prayers to reach God, our religion must be true.

Let’s say someone comes to me and asks me, “Father, can you pray a novena so that I can get a Lexus?” I am going to reply, “What is a Lexus, my son? Let it go. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. You can’t drive a Lexus through the pearly gates.”

By the same token, for our religion to be true, we must be assiduously prayerful. I might know this entire Catechism by heart. I might fast daily and live on crumbs. But it would be for naught if I did not pray and beg the unseen and unknown God for help.

In Christ, we find humble and true prayer. In Christ, the Truth Himself kneels before the Father. In Christ, man prays for everything that is truly good.

4 thoughts on “Samaritan Well

  1. Fr. Mark,

    “We must all tend our gardens,” in this best of all possible Worlds. Surely, St. Teresa of Avila’s progression toward perfection in prayer speaks to this Gospel: build the garden by the well, conduct water to the garden by an aqueduct, build the garden by the river, and stand in the garden with your face turned skyward, awaiting the God-sent rain.

    But, is there any more perfect prayer than, ““Sir, give me this water, ….”? And, is there any more perfectly-suited disciple than this, the first evangelist, bound up in sin, but not so hobbled by it that she (the ostracised Samaritan woman of Sychar) couldn’t see this was the Christ, and so proclaim him in town.

    May we all be so!



  2. “The Lord thirsts for one thing and one thing only. He thirsts for our devoted love. On the Cross He opened His arms to us. His throat was parched. He said to each of us, ‘I thirst. I thirst for you.’ ”

    I like this. A poignant glimpse into the heart of Jesus. Thank you!!

    OTOH, I’m not getting the baseball pic ~

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