In today’s Gospel from John, “The Woman at the Well”, we participate in a scene in which a Samaritan woman, leading a sinful life and who until then does not know Christ, is converted from sinner to missionary. What an inspiration for us as we continue our own Lenten journey toward Holy Week and ultimately Easter! And at the same time, what a beautiful template for how a street missionary can imitate Jesus to lead a soul back to Him!
Jesus approaches the woman on a lonely, dusty street corner. She is going about her business, hoping to avoid meeting anyone (perhaps out of shame for her way of life), when he approaches her at high noon. (In fact, he seems to have planned and prepared for this very meeting.) She initially attempts to blow him off. “I’m not Jewish!” ( Sound familiar?) He perseveres politely, asks for water. She stops, becomes engaged. “Sir” she now calls him. They discuss the eternal. He gently references her sins. She sees now that he is a prophet, and calls him so. Then, he offers a chance for forgiveness, and with it, a new life. She seeks forgiveness. and he gives it freely. He reveals himself to be the Messiah, the Christ.
The woman, long suffering because of her sin, receives a loving “homecoming”. With heart burning, she runs to tell the whole town, no longer afraid. Many more recognized and believed the truth he preached and glorified him as she did.
As we prepare for Holy Week, let us all contemplate our journey with Jesus. Are we letting him touch us? Or are we trying to blow Him off? Are we sharing our inner secrets with Him? Are we letting Him love us?
And let us find inspiration for our coming mission in SoHo in Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well. She is out there in the streets of New York, waiting for us.