“Jesus said to her (the Samaritan woman), ‘Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir (Κύριε), give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.’” (Jn 4: 13-15)
At this point, the Samaritan woman does not yet understand what kind of “water” Christ is talking about. But I love how she immediately wants it, as a “spring of water” that will be “in” her, rather than in this well on the outskirts of her village, whence she needs to carry it home. (Sorry for using the word “whence.” I like it, what can I say.) And she believes that this Stranger can provide it, saying, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” But she hasn’t yet understood that her real “problem” is not physical thirst, which compels her to go to the trouble to “come here to draw,” but the spiritual thirst that has brought her far more trouble, as she has been trying to quench it in the wrong place(s), in relationships with men. As Christ will point out to her a bit later in this narrative, she has had “five husbands,” and now “has” a sixth guy, who is “not” her husband (Jn 4: 18).
As we read this passage, preparing for the upcoming Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, I’m thinking about this “spring of water welling up to eternal life,” which Christ offers to open “in” each of us, if we drink of His “water.” Unlike “drinking the Kool Aid” of merely-human teachers or gurus, my drinking of the “living water” of the grace of the Holy Spirit does not enslave or belittle me into human codependency. It empowers me to true usefulness to myself and others, as God, the Source of Life, liberates me from a crippling neediness or “thirst” for other people or things to fill that hole in my heart. Instead, He frees me to offer to others this very-extraordinary Something “in” me, but not “from” me, the grace of the Holy Spirit. “Lord, give me this water, that I may not thirst.” Amen!