Why was the Samaritan woman drawing water at the well at noon, the hottest part of the day? This is not the time that most people would be coming for water. Most people would want to avoid the heat of the day. Perhaps that was the whole point. Perhaps she was trying to avoid people. As someone who has had five husbands, she likely would not have been one with good social standing in the community.
We don’t know much about this woman. Did she have family? Any friends? One thing that is apparent is that she had a series of unsuccessful personal relationships. The average person likely looked at her as a failure.
But at that unlikely time of day, she meets an unlikely person, Jesus, who offers her an unlikely gift of friendship. Jesus makes no judgement. He crosses cultural boundaries and strikes up a conversation, offering her the gift of “living water.”
“In the wilderness the people thirsted for water” states today’s reading from Exodus. Thirst is a prevalent theme in today’s readings. The woman at the well thirsted for a better life we can assume.
What do we thirst for today? It’s reasonable to say that at this time we thirst for some peace, for health and safety for ourselves and our loved ones. The overwhelming and rapidly-changing news around the coronavirus pandemic is creating much panic around us.
In addition to the preventative measures we are all asked to take during this time to keep everyone safe and healthy, we have a real opportunity to practise much-needed prayer and charity to our neighbours. We know that prayer can be healing in times of difficulty and it has the power to create miracles.
Here is a prayer from Pope Francis to help us battle the pandemic we are facing:
O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick. At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus’ pain, with steadfast faith.
You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need.
We are certain that you will provide, so that, as you did at Cana of Galilee, joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the Father’s will and to do what Jesus tells us.
He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and bore our sorrows to bring us, through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection.
We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God.
Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test – and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.
–Natalia Kononenko, Editor, Living with Christ