The Woman Left Her Water Jar (Jn 4:28)

That’s my favorite line in all of scripture.

Maybe there are more important lines. But that’s my favorite. It reminds me of my perpetual marching orders. And this is the weekend — in my parish — who will be welcoming new members in sacraments of initiation at Easter Vigil this year — to hear my favorite line.

The woman at the well is a reminder to us that Jesus doesn’t come for the faithful – he comes for the unbaptized, the uninformed, and the unknowing.  And he doesn’t come to judge – he comes to us to be in an authentic relationship — first. He wants to know us personally, intimately. We are reminded that no matter how much we think we know – we are never finished getting to know God through the person of Jesus. There is always more that we can know. And sometimes we have to be both courageous enough – and humble enough – to listen to the truth about who we have become – and leave our water jar behind to begin again.  It’s not a think-about-it-sort of thing.  It’s immediate.  Reckless. Scandalous. A sharp 180-degree turn.  The woman left her water jar…and really her whole life behind and risked everything to announce the gospel to a community who had already rejected her — after just one encounter with Jesus.  They hadn’t broken her.  Or perhaps her brokenness is why Jesus picked her.  Jesus always chooses the underdog.  The least prepared.  The violently outcast.  The most forgotten.  He first takes care for the woman’s human needs — relationship and belonging. Then she is open to having her spiritual needs met — and Jesus reveals himself as the Messiah to her — an affirmation of both her dignity AND as a herald of the gospel — and then gives her a task.

Go get ‘em, girl!

What am I willing to risk to encounter Jesus? What is the real human need I need fulfilled by God before my spiritual needs can truly be met? What do I have to leave behind in order to announce the gospel to my community?  Who am I afraid won’t listen to me?  Or won’t give me credibility? Or won’t believe me when I make known the faith my heart yearns to share?


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