The world out there is full of questions and one in particular seems to come out very often, most especially when we take a look at the great tragedies of our times: “Is the Lord in our midst or not?” (Ex 17:7, first reading). Today we enter into this question and have an opportunity to find the answer.
Jesus tells us that God is still in our midst but not in the way we may think or expect Him to be. He is in our midst in a very ordinary way and we find Him when we respond to the needs that people have. We find Him when we love; when we discover ourselves as “beloved of God” and when we love “the other” with the Love He has poured into our hearts. Then we understand how God is present in the world today.
In that “Give me a drink” that Jesus says to the Samaritan woman we find more, however, than a simple request to be charitable. This request opens us to the revelation of God and of ourselves; this request allows us to dialogue with God and this dialogue moves two hearts closer and closer together until they become one.
We know that our lives demand something more, something that like the thirst of midday in a desert, haunts us until we find anything that can bring relief. The tragedy of life is that most of the time we settle for water from the well… if we are lucky. Some even settled for the water of a cactus. The gift that God brings to us is more enriching and totally satisfying – living water. No wonder the woman wants to know where it is. She knows that that’s what we long for!
This living water is not like well water. It moves and moves things. A well can be covered: you put sand on it and it’s covered. No one can cover a stream: there will always be water.
The Living water comes from within, but like a stream with an underground source, it may carry with it the dirt of the earth. We can not drink it until all the impurities have been removed. So it is with us. The Living water has been given to us, but we carry a lot of junk (impurities) which muddy the water. What to do?
“Call you husband….” Why switch the conversation on to the husbands? The Samaritan woman has five husbands and the one she has now is not her own. As I meditate on this word, I am reminded that the Hebrew word for husband is the word for “master” (Ba’al) which is also used for idols. Earthly idols made of earth, of dirt, of clay.
Now I know what to do. There are too many attachments in our lives, attachment that can function like idols, something that we give all our attention and devotion. For as long as we keep those clay idols the living water will always be muddy. By getting rid of them, they will not contaminate the water any longer and I can drink of that water and be truly and forever satisfied.
Only in this way, we can be part of the thirst-quenching network that Jesus invites us to be. If we hold our idols in our hands and tell people that God can satisfy our hearts, how truthful are we? Can they really believe us? I don’t think so.
If we say that God is living in our midst but we don’t let go of the idols of self interest and pride, how credible are we?
But when we allow the Love that God has poured into us to purify our hearts and transform our lives we can be made into credible aqueducts, capable of bring the living water to all those who long for it.
We can be the answer to the world’s question: God is in our midst because He lives among us when we love each other with His love.