Painting: Woman at The Well • Artist: Hyatt Moore
It’s crazy to look back on your life and remember the times when Jesus so clearly called out to you. Maybe they weren’t encounters like the ones Moses or Abraham had, but in my own life I have come to find that Jesus more often than not does so in small and in silent ways. He still calls us on a daily basis. It can be through a number of things, and of course more tangibly through people—loved ones, strangers, rich, poor, colleagues—you name it. For me in particular, He called and continues to call me to Him through my fiancée. Since I’ve returned from a silent retreat with my community, and spent a significant amount of time in front of the Blessed Sacrament, I was able to clearly understand how it is that He calls me through her. God has put into my heart the theme of a well.
If you think about it and do a little bit of biblical research you can find that God has brought spouses together in the Old Testament. In multiple stories, He used a well to bring people and even spouses together: Rebecca and Isaac, Jacob and Rachel, Moses and Zipporah… hey, even Jack and Jill went up a hill to a well to fetch a pail of water. Okay, that last one isn’t biblical but you get the idea.
I met my future spouse at that same well Jesus talked about over 2,000 years ago in the story of the Samaritan Woman. You see, my story and this story are pretty similar. But before moving forward, here’s a refresher on that Gospel passage.
The Samaritan Woman
Jesus had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon.
A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
[The woman] said to him, “Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
Jesus said to her, “Go call your husband and come back.”
The woman answered and said to him, “I do not have a husband.” Jesus answered her, “You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’ For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.”
The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Anointed; when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking with you.”
At that moment his disciples returned, and were amazed that he was talking with a woman, but still no one said, “What are you looking for?” or “Why are you talking with her?”
The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, “Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Messiah?” They went out of the town and came to him. Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.”
But he said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” So the disciples said to one another, “Could someone have brought him something to eat?”
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here’? I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest. The reaper is already receiving his payment and gathering crops for eternal life, so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together. For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap what you have not worked for; others have done the work, and you are sharing the fruits of their work.”
Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me everything I have done.”
When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. Many more began to believe in him because of his word, and they said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”
Jesus never condemned the woman. In the same way, Jesus doesn’t have condemnation toward us (more towards our sins). He wants to heal us and give us “everlasting water.” The first thing Jesus says to the woman is not “Hey, you’ve been bad so go repent!”, or “You’re a terrible person, don’t talk to me.” It’s unfortunate that there are many people that think Jesus is that way toward us, but in reality He says the same thing He said to the Samaritan Woman.
After Christ’s walk to Calvary, after His crucifixion, He says to the soldiers (to us): ”give me a drink.” After Peter denied Him three times, after he ran away and claimed not to know Him: Jesus says, “do you love Me?” He asks us this every day… “Do you love Me?” Whether we’ve sinned for the 500th time or have sinned for the 5000th time, there is a thirstiness that remains in us unless we come to the well and meet Him there. The paradox here is that Jesus thirsts for us in return, not for everlasting life like us, but simply for us to love Him in return. We can be selfish people. We are selfish people. We desire things and certain pleasures in life and we tend to sin just to get or experience what it is we want for a brief moment. Yet, God proposes something that satisfies that thirst that those things don’t. He so desires to give us the water of everlasting life, water that makes us thirst no more. It is at that well where Jesus is meeting us every single day. It is at that same well inside of us where Jesus answers our cry, “I am thirsty,” by offering us everlasting water…His love and mercy.
I am a huge sinner. And it was at that well where I met and continue to see Fatima, too. It was at that well where Jesus, through Fatima, offered me a life “full of grace.” It was only when I decided to give up a life I lived selfishly; living of the world and not of above. It was only when I decided to leave all my things and follow Him. And you know what? It’s still a life that’s difficult and with much hardships. But the difference here is this. By following Christ, He gave me and continues to give me strength for the journey—water of everlasting life.
So going back to my time spent on retreat as I had mentioned in the beginning, I heard His voice in the silence of my heart and saw myself at a well with Jesus, engaging in the same dialogue of the Samaritan Woman. I was talking to Jesus, coming to believe in Him, trusting in Him, and being forgiven by Him. Then I blinked. Jesus wasn’t there in front of me at the well anymore. Fatima was… believing in me, trusting me, forgiving me, loving me for who I am. I pray I can do the same for her as well.
I believe that Jesus used and continues to use my future wife to meet Him at the well and it is at very well where I will again meet Fatima in a couple of months. We’ll approach that well, both thirsty, but fully believing that Christ will give us the water of everlasting life as husband and wife. Jesus will meet us both there when we participate in the Sacrament of Marriage and will pour on us an abundance of His Love and Mercy.
God bless, my friends. I will be praying for you all, and please continue to pray for Fatima and me as we continue on our journey to marriage… 4 MONTHS!