Be the living water

Gospel Reflection

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” —For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.— Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.

“I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ; when he comes, he will tell us everything.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking with you.”

Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him. When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. Many more began to believe in him because of his word, and they said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”

Today, as we face the COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease) pandemic we also witness the devastation (state) of our society.

As we progress in technology, in accessibility, in communication, in almost anything in life that has become more and more convenient and easy for some of us, we also see a decline in the value we put on the “other,” giving priority to the “me” first. It’s called self-preservation.

Our motto has been, “Love yourself, because how could you love if you have nothing to give,” or “Save yourself first before saving others.” Self-preservation.

When you are on a plane, what do you do in cases of emergency? Put the life jacket on yourself first, or put the oxygen mask on yourself first, before you help others. For how can you help if you are already weak and confused due to lack of oxygen? It is simple logic. Human logic.

So now, with the spread of COVID-19 we saw all kinds of, should we say, self-preservation behavior. People hoarding on masks and other essentials, then selling them at double, triple the price. People fighting over toilet paper (when they’d be much cleaner when they use the bidet or if they wash themselves with soap). People taking all the alcohol, all the sanitizers, all the disinfecting sprays in the supermarket. People who are not thinking that, yes, they are able to save themselves from getting the virus, but because their favorite neighbor, their regular vendor for their morning congee was not able to buy alcohol to sanitize themself or may not be even able to afford one, they were not able to protect themself and eventually got sick. And then unknown to you, you bought your daily dose of congee or entertained your favorite neighbor. Even if you bathe on the alcohol you bought, I tell you, you will still get the virus.

Thinking of yourself, you did not think that if the “other” would be affected, would be infected, you too will be affected and chances are, you too will be infected. No one is an island. We depend on each other and so we should develop the culture of community, not of individualism.

In today’s Gospel we see Jesus conversing with a Samaritan woman by the well. Jacob’s well. Not just a Samaritan woman but one who is a sinner. One who had five husbands and is currently living with someone who is not her husband. Such a scandal.

But as Jesus said, he did not come for the righteous but for the sinners (Luke 5:32, Matthew 9:13, Mark 2:17). He came for the Samaritan woman, he came for the Samaritan people who believed in him and who invited him to stay with them. He came for the lost children of Israel. He came for the “other”. He came for us and He came to give us living water that we may no longer thirst. Fully satisfied with the love that God has showered us with. But then for us to be able to enjoy this living water, we too must become living waters, as well. We should allow ourselves to be used by God, to be the water that comes from him that would satisfy the thirst of the “other” of other Samaritan women by the well.

How? By living for the “other.” By allowing ourselves to be channels of kaginhawahan for others. For them to feel the love of God, by showing them that God do care and love them. That God is here to aid them, to help them in their need. In the time that they are thirsty, that they are hungry, we become that water that will quench their thirst. We become that food that will satisfy their hunger. This needs self-sacrifice.

Are you up for the challenge? Or are you satisfied with trying to satisfy your own need to survive? Self-sacrifice or self-preservation?

Make this lent be an opportunity for you to be that living water that God intends you to be, for the “other”.

God’s logic is different and it defies human logic. Put others first, before yourself. That means, save others first even if it means you losing your life. Put yourself on the line, take the risk, for the sake of the other. That’s what Jesus did, which we keep on reminding ourself during lent and especially during the holy week – the pashal mystery - the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. And if we follow Jesus, if we truly follow Jesus, then that’s what we should be doing.

What is your lenten sacrifice?


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