HE CROSSES THE LINE
“So he came to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and so Jesus, wearied as he was with his journey, sat down beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink.’ For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’” (Jn 4: 5-10)
Indeed, at first the Samaritan woman does not see “who it is” that is speaking with her. She merely sees the externals and politics of status. She sees not Christ, but “a Jew,” and herself, “a Samaritan” and “a woman,” drawing an immediate, accepted line of demarcation between herself and the Stranger. But our Lord crosses this line, speaking to her not as to “a woman” or “a Samaritan,” or some other category, but as to a distinct person. Differently from her, He recognizes “the gift of God” and exactly “who it is” with whom He speaks, – a concrete human being – and He calls her to do the same.
Today let me recognize His voice, however and whenever He might strike up a conversation with me. Let me recognize “the gift of God” in His messengers, be they women, men, Jews, Samarians, Greeks, Russians, Americans, Georgians, Romanians, Serbs, or others. And let me pray, as the Holy and Great Council nears, in a divided and divisive world: O Lord, Founder and Spirit of our unity, may You speak and be heard among us, regardless of our human lines of demarcation and politics of status, that we may have living water. Glory be to You.