Jesus reaches out to every person: Gentile or Jew, male or female. Whenever Jesus meets someone, that person is given a chance to become a believer and to have his/her life changed in a radical way. When Jesus met the Samaritan woman, he said, “If you only 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.” “If you only knew….”
As children our parents took us to church – we did not yet have faith, but someone else was planting seeds within us. It was only the beginning. Something far more transformative needed to happen. “If you only knew….”
An astonishing moment of faith arrives when we can say (like the woman’s townspeople), “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.” We no longer believe because of our parents, or whoever the person(s) were who planted those seeds. We were blessed to have them, but now this is a new moment. Now we do know.
Hopefully, in each of our lives this moment of transformation does come: we no longer believe because of someone else, but have found the “treasure in the field” for ourselves. There is a decision to make, one that can make all the difference.
Faith is a mystery, and a gift. We do not earn it. It comes from the hand of God.
This woman has truly heard the “Good News” of transforming grace. She shares it freely and generously. It is as if she says, “May what has given life to me also give you new life; may what has transformed me also transform you.” This is what Jesus wishes his words would do: profoundly change each of us.
Pedo Arrrupe, SJ once described this experience in his poem "Falling in Love with God":
Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in love in an absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.
The woman in today's Gospel allowed her life to be changed when she met Jesus. She also allowed God to use her to invite others to experience the same thing. Yes, being in love decides everything, and moves us in directions we could never imagine. Imagine what the Church and the world would be like if each one of us dared to fall in love with God, and dared to allow God to lead us in directions we would never choose ourselves....
-Sr. Corinne Yarborough
Sisters of St. Mary of Namur . 241 Lafayette Avenue . Buffalo, New York 14213 . (716) 884-8221