Thoughts for today
In our first reading (Exodus 17:3-7) the people are grumbling. The lack of water has put their lives in danger, and they feel helpless to do anything about it. They turn on Moses (it was no fun being Moses). The last line caught my eye, “The place was called Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled there and tested the Lord, saying, ‘Is the Lord in our midst or not?’” “Massah” means “the place of test” and “Meribah” means “the place of strife/quarreling.” When hardship hits us, we are tested, and how we respond tells much. If we respond with quarreling and greater selfishness that says something about what kind of faith we had. If we respond with greater devotion and compassion that says something very different. Superficial faith is destroyed by hardship; deep faith is strengthened by hardship.
Psalm 95 reflects on this.
Our Gospel (John 4:5-42) Jesus meets the woman at the well. The encounter begins with a concern for a basic, everyday physical need, water. It very quickly becomes more than that.
She has had five husbands, and is now living with a man without even being married. What kind of relationships would those have been? Would they have involved a lot of caring, mutual respect, kindness? I tend to doubt it. I imagine her being quite emotionally needy, and ready to accept a toxic situation than none at all. Consider all the people in the world who have no access to clean, safe drinking water, and are forced to drink dirty, contaminated water. Jesus treated her with care and respect. How long might it have been since she had experienced that? When Jesus points out the reality to her, she accepts it. She then had to share.
When we are focused on day to day basic needs, there is an opportunity to encounter Christ. When we encounter Christ that helps us see ourselves more clearly. That gives us something to share.
Thoughts for today