At the Well

At the Well By Michael Pirri This weekends Gospel reading focuses on Jesus’ interaction with a Samaritan woman coming to draw water at Jacob’s well. I always wondered how it was that these two should happen to meet, both unaccompanied. It’s important to note two aspects that make this interaction so significant. This is a woman of Samaria, most likely of very low social standing – why else would she be coming unaccompanied to a very deep well in the hot sun of midday (It was extremely uncommon for women to travel unaccompanied)? Further, a Samaritan woman, even of very high social standing, would not typically interact with non-Samaritans, like Jesus. How is it that both of these people, who usually travel accompanied, should meet on their own? The water imagery in this Gospel passage is vivid. The Samaritan woman’s thirst is physical, she comes to the well to draw water. A persons physical needs are met through much difficulty: the well is deep. The living water offered by Jesus is like a wellspring, gushing up from the ground. How is it that we, like the samaritan woman, can encounter Christ and learn to seek out the living water too? This imagery is reinforced in one of the responsorial canticles from the Easter Vigil: “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12.3) In the same way that woman comes to the well to draw water, Jesus comes too. He comes thirsty not only for us and our salvation, but also to supply our needs, to be the wellspring in this Lenten desert. Sunday’s Readings: Exodus 17.3-7 Psalm 95 Romans 5.1-2, 5-8 John 4.5-42