So the (Samaritan) woman left her water jar, and went away into the city, and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?’ They went out of the city and were coming to him.” (Jn 4: 28-30)

The Samaritan woman’s encounter with the God-Man involved a conversation about her past, or “all that (she) ever did,” including the awkward fact that she has had “five husbands”; and another fact, from her more recent past, that the man she presently “had” was not, actually, her “husband” (Jn 4: 18). But her past, after Christ shed His life-giving light on it, became life-giving not only for this remarkable woman, but also for many others in her city.

In communion with Christ, I need not wish away or forget the awkward or dark moments of my past. I learn from all that and grow, carrying it with me, just as the paralytic at Bethesda took up and carried with him his “pallet” or “bed,” to which he had just been pinned for 38 years (Jn 5: 9). My past experiences, however dark or awkward, through which God’s hand eventually brought me to Him, can also become assets for those less experienced, whom I may be called, occasionally, to help or encourage. Because “we know,” as St. Paul says, that “for those who love God, all things (πάντα),” even from a dark past, “work together (συνεργεῖ) for the good” (Rom 8: 28).

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