More exciting than miracles?
Hearing about Jesus’ miracles is exciting; making the impossible happen draws us in so that we pay attention to what God wants to teach us. We know Jesus is present when He performs a miracle. In Scripture, we hear about healing the sick, feeding the multitudes, and raising the dead. We don’t often witness miracles such as these in our time. That is not to say miracles don’t happen; we just don’t encounter them often. Recognizing Jesus in our lives is more difficult without these awesome signs.
As we look ahead to the Gospel account for this coming Sunday, it is necessary to understand the context of this Gospel passage. Most of us likely do not appreciate the relationship between the Jews and the Samaritans, and it was not friendly. The woman addresses this when she asks about a Jew wanting a drink from a Samaritan. Without this context, it is difficult to comprehend the radicalness of Jesus’ message to us. By understanding this, we know that Jesus is available to all.
What is the reason for sharing this account encounter between Jesus and the woman? There are two. The first is what we learn from the context; Jesus is radical. He will reach out to anyone, even those considered enemies. No one is beyond Jesus, and as we know Jesus to be the perfect model of humanity, neither should enemies be beyond us. We should be able to reach out to anyone for our needs and, in turn, be willing to give anyone a hand. The second reason is found in how he approaches the woman. Jesus goes to the woman not by getting her attention with a miracle but by addressing her during an everyday task. Jesus presents himself to the woman at the well to engage with her, that’s all. Jesus wants us to spend time with him to experience his message and love for us. Once we can feel his love, we can hopefully love ourselves. Again, we are called to do as Jesus does. But loving ourselves can be difficult at the best of times. Jesus wants to share the message of salvation with us, as he does with her. He shares that he knows everything about her life, and now she must admit them to Jesus; more importantly, she must admit them to herself. Again, regardless of who we are, familiar with Jesus or not, he will reach out to us. As we spend time with Jesus and talk with him, he will gently listen to what he already knows. This is where we can work on the things we need to change in ourselves in the loving embrace of Jesus. In this way, we can prepare for the Kingdom of God.
We read near the end, the Samaritan community claiming they now believe in Jesus, not because they heard from the woman, but because they heard from Jesus directly. As much as we can lead people to Jesus, they eventually need to hear from him themselves. The truth of salvation is what Jesus will share, but only when we are ready. He will approach us often during our everyday work when we least expect it. And really, what could be more exciting than that?
By Serena Shaw
Vocation Team – Oblate Associate
Phone: (780) 231-3066