I get the feeling that AATW is coasting lately. Yes, Jessica has retired, Chalcedon is overbusy, I too am busy with diverse things, one of which is rebuilding my own blog, Philip Augustine has been carrying us, and as fascinating as his articles are, there is a spark missing.
Perhaps, as we’ve said before it is the touch of a woman. Our longtime commenter and friend Annie reblogged an article the other day that moved me, as so many here have over the years. Here is a bit of it.
First, I didn’t know what to write in this blog, so I remained silent for a time and asked the Spirit to lead me. This is the title that came out, and I had to ponder why. And this blog is filled with whys. But the Spirit answers them all by revealing the intention of Jesus in this story.
Whenever I’m in confusion or doubt, I always look to Jesus’ words and actions to inform me and enlighten me. I opened my Bible to review the familiar red-letter words in order to read them again and digest them in light of the leading I received. Since I believe the Bible is the living word – the Living Water and Nourishment – of God, it always has a different meaning depending on where you might be at the moment you read it.
As I read the words of the woman at the well (John 4:4-42), it came to me slowly and certainly. I think as I explain it, the meaning will come to you too.
The first thing Jesus says to the woman is in the form of a request: “Please give me a drink of water.”
The Samarian woman is shocked he is talking to her. After all, she has been treated as unworthy all her life by her kinsmen and her Hebrew neighbors, and she now believes it. Why does he ask the woman for a drink? Does he want something from her? Yes, he does. He wants her to ask him for a drink. He wants her to open her heart and receive.
Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you Living Water.”
All he wants is for her to see she has immeasurable value, for her to attain what she thinks is unattainable, for her to accept the unconditional love and grace he offers. Yet she does not understand the gift. She looks at life literally, and measures what she can see and touch.
It’s very very good, do read the whole thing.
It’s also something we have spoken of here, Philip here, Jessica here, but the memory that was triggered for me by Susan’s lovely article was also one from Jessica, one which moved me deeply when she wrote it, and moves me still. It is here. Here is a little bit of that.
I am the woman at the well.
I see someone I fear to approach; what would one like him have to do with one like me? But he speaks to me. I do not want to speak back. I am a sinner, I am an outsider; who am I that he should speak to me? When I do, I do not know what to say that will not condemn me. I am working. The man needs the water from the well, and my job, among many, is to get it for him; he will be waiting; he may be angry with me if I am late. Yet this man insists on engaging me in conversation. He wants water from me too; another man who wants something from me?
But as I talk to him it is not what I think. I cannot take in all his words. What is this water he has? How can he offer it to me when he wants something from me? What is it he really wants? He seems to be offering me something; he wants something from me, but it is something good for me. I don’t understand. Then he asks me what I had feared.
Jessica ended with this, and there is no answer to it, for we are all the woman at the well. But it is true, and for me, part of it has been AATW.
It was all long ago now, and I tell my grandchildren of him. We worshipped him before he was crucified; we worshipped him after the Resurrection. He is God. His Spirit is with me. That moment at the well changed my life; it changed the world. Though I was a sinner He loved me; that opened my heart to something which bubbles up in it even this day.