Sunday, March 8, 2015

LENT - The Sunday Word

Jesus knew all about water. Growing up in the rocky, dry land of Israel, he knew first hand that water was a precious resource that didn't come easily. He must have grown up seeing his mother and countless other women spend hours of their days hauling water for cooking, cleaning and drinking.

So when Jesus encounters the lone Samaritan woman at the well in the hot noonday sun, he could appreciate the hard work that was required to draw enough water from the deep well in order to meet the needs of her family.

Water is notoriously heavy -- 1 pint of water weighs 1 pound, so a 5-gallon bucket equals a staggering 40 pounds. A woman would have to haul this much water several times every day to meet the demands of a large family and busy household.

When Jesus encounters the woman at the well, he's hot and tired from his journey. And, what's more, he's not packing a bottle of Evian. So he's parched. But he knows exactly what he needs to ease his thirst; "Give me a drink," he says to the Samaritan woman. It's a touching, vulnerable moment, one of the very few times that we hear Jesus make a request of another person. He needs something that she can provide.

In that moment it doesn't matter that he's the Son of God, the Savior of the world, a man in a male-oriented society or a Jew encountering someone from the ethnically disparaged Samaritans. All the barriers and differences that might divide them, fall away; Jesus is simply a person with a basic human need, and this woman has the ability to help him. She can give him water.

So, Jesus had his little moment, too. Water for us humans is necessary for survival. What we don't often consider is how necessary for our spiritual survival is the living water Jesus offers through the Holy Spirit.