“..tormented by thirst, the people complained against Moses..” ..a worldly phrase with which we may be familiar “when the going gets tough, the tough get going..” & in relation to 1st rdg we might include an addendum.. “..when the going gets tough, a few get going whilst the majority complain..” we seek a scapegoat ; climate change or LNER..Highways Agency or Headteacher or my husband or elder daughter..or monk I find most difficult.. Lent is season to honestly face yourself ; a self-referral to Jesus here & now, tormented as I am by my own self harm..
“..tormented by the skeleton in my cupboard..” ; Lord have mercy “..a place named Massah or Meribah” because of the grumbling.. ; Christ have mercy “..even testing God “is the Lord with us or not?”.. ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen,
“Jesus, tired by the journey, sat straight down by the well”..John the evangelist tells a great story; evidently not Yorkshireman as he takes two pages to say what a tyke would relate in two sentences; heart centred otherness rather than practical story; John doesn’t tell us that Jesus wasn’t just tired by journey but by competitive backstabbing in Judea, where there was debate over who was winning most disciples; Jesus or John the Baptist; compiling statistics on religious affiliation & competition for followers, so he self isolates he left Judea/Ampleforth valley & made for Samaria/Bilsdale where the semi-Jews lived, the so called lapsed or distant; where those under suspicion lived breathed fresh air & a Jewish religion in the back of beyond..& there, a disgusted frustrated tired & thirsty Jesus met the woman..& having crossed a faith boundary, he risks crossing further/deeper into dangerous territory..blowing convention out of water..”give me a drink” a self respecting man Jew would have shown some character & put up with his thirst..he doesn’t..he opens contact with a woman, a non-Jew, a Samaritan, asking her for help; don’t underestimate his courage as he risks overcoming taboos of nationality, religion, gender & patriarchy.. he moves from self isolationism into full contagiousness in 30secs..she challenges his unorthodoxy & a real relationship among equals begins..between a devout Jew & a struggling outsider, a Jesus full of poetic phraseology & woman earthy simple thirsty to know & to taste..they playfully entice each other as boy meets girl; innocence in Jesus meets fallenness in woman; faith meets faith, heart to heart; try to convince me otherwise, but its romantic is it not? an emerging love story..is not our relationship, my relationship with my God romantic?..as one of our First Communion candidates told me last wk as we centred on three key words Mum & Dad thirst to hear; & how many times a day? I asked ..1000 one said with beamer of smile, of knowing from experience what its like to enjoy counting it up..in bucket fulls “you have no bucket sir” how many of us are bucket-less here at Mass?..here for someone else to satisfy your thirst as you self isolate..here hoping for a cupful or sip..whereas as disciples we are called to be water bearers; buckets/jars of it..sadly disciples had gone off to Helmsley to buy food; wrong place wrong time seeking food & missing waiter/woman & moment..”what do you want from her?..why talk to her?”..feel/sense their sense anger temper grumbling; supposedly insiders now exposed for who they really were, & they didn’t like it, they didn’t like/love themselves; bucket-less heart-less..& meanwhile as they self centredly self isolated, woman hurried back to Ampleforth to tell others “come & see” “I wonder if he is the Christ?” a wonderfully humble search for God..& not long before Jesus was asking his inner trusties “who do you say I am?”..no wonder his tiredness disgust emerged.. “Rabbi do have something to eat” if only they knew what food he had been receiving during their futile search for it; a meal a eucharist shared between Jesus & fallen woman, each thirsty/hungry for a truthful authentic relationship“you spoke the truth there”..a truth we often try to deny or hide from or dismiss; & a parting of the ways; disciples left to enjoy their meal “has someone been bringing him food?”..if only they knew/realised the real answer to their question, caught out again on inside..whilst Samaritans believed in fallen woman & her testimony, & “begged him to stay with them on outside; many came to believe; no longer because of what you told us; we have heard him ourselves” our thirst satisfied..”we know [& now I know] that he really is the saviour of the world” a Thomas moment“My Lord & my God” my saviour & he says to you here & now“give me a drink” Fr Donal O’Leary Leeds Dioc said “Lent is a time to fall in love again with God” a time to tell him 1000 times day three key words..when you speak them to him/them from now on “many will come to believe, because of what you will tell..& when he comes he will tell us everything; I who am speaking to you..I am he”; do you hear me Bede speaking to you now?..or do you hear Jesus?..”give me a drink” are those Jesus’ words or Bede’s words from a self isolation & a thirst for a loving relationship with those of you courageous enough to sit by the well with me..to admit to our thirst & our fallenness..& fall in love again..will you?..will you?.. [3rdSunLentYrA;Jn 4;5-42]