Reflection – [only view of Aidan Troy]
Often, I regret that I have lacked greater order in the ministry of service in which I’ve been privilege to engage with such a rich diversity of people. Hard as I have tried, many happened in circumstances that would not have been my choice.
That is where Jesus scores top marks every time. He takes each person and every circumstance to reach out to human and spiritual need. It was midday at the well of Jacob. It was hot. Jesus is tired from the journey. His feet are dusty, and he is weary. He is hungry and thirsty, but is ready for anyone God sends in his path.
A Samaritan woman comes along in the scorching heat to get water. She wants to avoid meeting anyone, because she was sensitive about her ill-repute. She sees that there is a person sitting by the well. She takes little notice at first, because she can see that he is Jew and they shun Samaritans. She is not concerned.
But Jesus is concerned about this woman whom God has put in his path at the well. It may be midday, very hot, but God gives us circumstances to meet people that we would not choose. I am wrong to want to be better organised for ministry in my life. God sets the appointments, even though He lets me think that I set the agenda and time slots. Will I ever learn? Probably not.
Jesus is thirsty both for water deep in the well and for the women’s faith. The conversation that takes place between the two is fascinating and gives a great insight into how ministry works. Jesus engages the woman in a wordplay of questions and answers. She is good at it. Eventually, Jesus touches her deepest soul.
‘Are you a greater man than our father Jacob who gave us this well?’ This is new territory for her to be talking to a Jewish man about their shared history. Jesus now reveals the real depth of water is not in the well but in His person. One day it will flow from His side on Calvary.
Her marriage history and present status come up. This does not make Jesus take a step back. It is closer Jesus comes. The high point is reached when the woman confesses her faith that the Christ is coming and that when he does, he will tell us everything. ‘I who am speaking to you’, said Jesus, ‘I am he.’ To Moses beforehand, God had declared himself to be ‘I Am’. Now Jesus says to this lady, ‘I am the Messiah, I am God.’ It doesn’t get much clearer than that.
The Apostles returning from their shopping are not impressed to find the Master taking on his own to a woman. They say nothing. But the woman has plenty to say. She lays down her precious water jar and sets out on what we know to be her first ‘missionary journey’. She carries the name of Jesus to her townsfolk. They flock out to see Jesus and are so captivated by Him, that they beg him stay on for a while. He stays two more days – unplanned as I would see it, but just right in His eyes. That is ministry availability.
There are few more human stories in Jesus’ ministry than this one. It has everything. Even after so many readings, I see new elements in it all the time. Where my ‘Well’ is and I go there, Jesus is always there. For example, people on the parvis after Mass, remind me of the scene of the woman meeting Jesus. We are brought here by Him so that He can go on speaking to us through each other. Where your ‘Well’ may be, Jesus is there waiting for you. Keep an eye out for Him!
Our prayers continue for those nursing the sick and seeking an antidote to deal with the present pandemic. St Joseph’s will continue as normally as possible, but always under the direction of Archbishop Aupetit. Each person and family is urged to make decisions as to what is best for them in these extraordinary times. Please be at peace with your conscientious decision. Archangel Michael grant our World your continued protection.