Midrash of the Woman after the Well
Love Flows into Discipleship
(Incremental Follow up to previous Midrash of Love Flows from Christ )
The Woman of Samaria at the Well, James Tissot, Brooklyn Museum
Woman: Come, Come with me to see a man who told me everything I have ever done!
Divinity: Jesus had just entered Samara with his disciples. They had journeyed from Judea heading to Galilee. Jesus was thirsty and hungry from his walk so he sent his disciples for food while He rested at about noon at the town well. He was silently sitting as He patiently waited for the arrival of a woman who he knew would be transformed. Filled with love, mercy and compassion Jesus was humanly and divinely fully present and ready to respond to the Father’s will. Relax and get comfortable so you can allow yourself to be immersed in the story as believers in your own journey of transformation.
Woman: It was the only time of the day that I could go to the well unnoticed, but there was someone sitting on the stones of the well. I went there anyway because I was thirsty. As I approached with my jar the man resting there asked me for a drink of water. Cautiously I responded; how can you ask me for a drink? For starters, I am a woman, a Samaritan, an outcast at the well when others are not.
Jesus: She does not know that I do so as a brother who like her is thirsty. I am looking forward to my conversation with her as I know she needs the kind of love I can give her. I am quite fortunate that my mother and father have shown me how to recognize love in others even if it is buried deep in their heart.
Divinity: It was a simple request for a little bit of water from an unlikely Jewish foreigner who would normally bypass Samaria because Samaritans were not Jews. Knowing Jesus was going to stop and talk to her, our prayers had prepared her heart to meet Jesus. Her response of not understanding how Jesus could meet her where she was is common to everyone. With your Baptism, you are also filled with divinity. Our prayers always include our desire that you can surrender to Jesus’s love. We know that once you do so, you can begin to do the same as we do, especially for those you know, and even for strangers you do not know.
Woman: With his friendly, warm, and inviting eyes, I felt at ease, immediately sensing that I could be comfortable in talking with him. Now in front of you my community of villagers I am fully aware that I have disappointed you. I had been avoiding you whenever possible such as going to the well when you would not be there.
Divinity: Jesus’s spirit appeared to her physically in His humility, demeanor, and with a gentle smile, causing her own soul to be attracted to His light. Jesus can help to make what was buried deep inside of her begin to surface. You have already had this same light inside since you were a thought in your mother’s and father heart. This light is the kind that invisibly attracts others. When you agree to the Father’s will, others can unconsciously like the woman, begin to know Jesus through you.
Woman: I could feel myself surrendering and desiring to want to know the man in ways that I had not known from any other man. There was something naturally kind about him that allowed me to let my guard down.
Divinity: Jesus challenged her to consider the impossible with a paradox. You are challenged daily with paradoxes that from a Christian perspective can be considered opportunities that God has placed in front of you.
Jesus: “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would ask him for a drink, and he would have given you living water.”
Woman: I was drawn deeper into to the conversation. What gift of God was he speaking about? I had no idea what living water was. I am not a woman of means, education, or even very religious. All I could say was that he had no bucket, and the well was deep. Where do you get this living water? I asked him if he was greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it.
Divinity: Jesus, as of that moment was still not plainly visible to her. She did not yet know He was the Gift He mentions. Yet, despite this, she like you could partially see as if through a thin veil, knowing there is something greater that you would like to know and share. It brings great joy to us that Jesus is always within your reach, ready to respond to your needs.
Woman: At the same time, I had struggled to grasp what seemed beyond my ability to understand. I wanted to hear more, I felt grateful that he was being patient with me. I began to realize that he could not be speaking of ordinary water. More questions flooded my mind. Perhaps he was asking me to rise above to more lofty thoughts? Could I believe something I could not see? Was he talking in metaphors? I know I spend a lot of time on my own seemly insatiable needs. Was he trying to tell me that the water he spoke of is able to wash away the failings of my past?
Divinity: Jesus knew she needed help to understand. To date, the woman only had the inspiration of God from the words of the prophets. Now she was hearing the Word of God directly. Jesus’s Words were filled with grace, redemption, and love. Her daily routine of satisfying her needs had been interrupted. She does not see yet that these daily needs presents a human thirst that cannot be satisfied regardless of how hard she tries. Jesus’s same Words are available to you now in Scripture written down from the witness of those who knew and understood Him. His Word can penetrate your heart in the same way it did for her. Your own deeper understanding can lead to wonderful ongoing transformations.
Jesus: “Those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”
Woman: I had to have some of this water. Maybe it would satisfy the endless thirst that I had not been able to describe. Could it help me link my ordinary life with the little faith I had to help bring me closer to God? Perhaps it is possible that I can be hopeful again. I could not resist asking for it. I realize he is no longer ordinary and I begin to feel my smallness, my worthlessness to be in his presence.
Divinity: She will never be thirsty again. She will come to realize that Jesus also thirst for her love. His love has flowed outward to begin to fill a void in her life. She like you is actually quite worthy to receive His love. What Jesus has waiting for you is unconditional. It can satiate your thirst, oftentimes even before you know you are thirsty because he is always present, filling you from within. All he wants in return is for you to love God and your neighbors. He knows if you do this, many more integrated parts of who you are, will become satiated and revealed to you. Yet, to do so he does not make it easy and offers her an even more difficult challenge.
Jesus: “Go call your husband and come back”
Woman: His request seemed to come from deep within my heart. Is he asking me to get the husband I do not have. I know why he would husband and wife together we could come back to talk with him. I was immediately filled with shame. He asked me for something I cannot give to him. My guilt had instantly filled me with darkness, just when I was I beginning to sense what might be a glorious light. Despite the feelings I was having I did not want to let go of the conversation.
Divinity: The woman begins to understand that receiving forgiveness requires her to recognize her wrongs. Jesus was there to unconditionally offer her forgiveness, mercy and compassion. Jesus’s already knows what is in her heart and yours also, but you have to be willing to let it out on your own. It is part of knowing that accepting God’s will is completely up to you. What he is asks for is not unreasonable nor does it come with unsurmountable conditions. He only wants you to recognize how His light can transform you. Jesus is ready and wants to forgive you, to help you sort out rights and wrongs, so your past may healed. What will remain behind will only there as a subtle memory to not commit transgressions again, otherwise it is forgotten not just by Him, but you should also allow it to be all but forgotten.
Woman: I had no choice to let him know that “I have no husband” but in my heart I knew it was not the whole truth. He has made me consider if I am really in love with the man I am living with. Maybe it is just a convenience for me so I feel safe or wanted in ways I think is love. Why would he ask me for something I do not have?
Divinity: Jesus reached directly into her past, present, and future already knowing the full truth. It is important to recognize that her partial truth is a good first step of many for a relationship with the Lord. Like her, Jesus knows every detail of your life, nothing is hidden. Eventually we come to realize we are better off when he knows we acknowledge that we have fallen. He is joyful when you are joyful and sad when you are sad. He is disappointed when you fail to be a Christian, but waiting with open arms to embrace you again, the moment that you wish to return.
Jesus: ‘You are right in saying, “I have no husband”; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!’
Woman: I know I have much more to tell the man, but he seems to already know everything about me. What I have said seemed to be enough for him in that moment. For the first time in my life, I have felt the unlimited depth of forgiveness.
Divinity: The candor of the conversation surfaced multiple interior feelings for her. She was surrounded in light and peace, her confession released the shackles that bound her, and when she realizes the completeness of true freedom, she can call out for more. When faith calls out to you, it can continue towards even greater intensity without limit for you to believe, trust, and know who Jesus can be for you.
Woman: I began to understand that this man was holy beyond anyone I had ever heard of or met. At that point in the conversation, I was yet to grasp the completeness of who he was. However, I felt comfortable in letting him know I believed he must be a prophet. Yet, I struggled with the fact that he was a Jew and I was a Gentile. We had significant differences especially where God might be located. I challenged him with why he thought the God he worships is in Jerusalem and our God is on our mountain. One of these places where God exist must be wrong.
Divinity: Her encounter and trust deepened as she listened intently, patiently waiting for his answer. The invitation to know Jesus may fill you with feelings that might take more time than your like or may not be easy to resolve. This is why we surround you with our witness, friends, or family witnesses in your life, that know Jesus. We understand that may not enough, so there are witnesses that wear their faith in plain sight right in your midst. Listen to them, do not be afraid to challenge and ask them your own unique questions. When you talk to them, if your heart becomes filled with love, peace and hope then you know you can trust their answers. This is because Jesus is genuinely in their heart.
Jesus: “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.”
Woman: His response made me wonder when was this hour he was talking about? Could the hour be in the moment I was in with him? Was God present then or even now, not dependent on me being on the mountain? The thoughts I had were far different from anything I had ever considered. They were completely outside the scope of who I was. How was this even possible? I did not know where they were coming from.
Divinity: She is Christ’s sister, surrounded by his unconditional love. Jesus began to prepare her to do and be for others what he was doing and being for her. He was letting himself be visible to her soul that was beginning to surface, welling up from within. Your own preparation is happening now and remarkably will continue to happen for the rest of your life on earth. This hour Jesus speaks of is already partially here. At the same time it is always coming, like a horizon off in the distance that is present but you cannot yet touch it. In each of your own encounters, He will be there with you in Spirit to help guide you. He asks that you think of what is missing in your life.
Jesus: ‘You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. “
Divinity: She had received and willingly entered the mystery of moving towards the unknown, ready to explore possibilities that were well beyond her ability to appreciate. Your will allows you to make a similar decision. Jesus’s offer to you is the same. Are you willing to worship, believe, and trust even more? If you decide to do so then like her you will enter your own wondrous mission. This will be a mission filled with love and desire to love back, using your gifts to be fruitful with and for others. Working with Jesus, you can positively help others to see how this love of God and neighbor can help the health of the world.
Woman: In that moment, something inside told me to believe that I was in the place he spoke of. I began to think about what I was to do with this new knowledge. The village where I am from does not recognize that I have any value. How am I supposed to let them see I am a new person? Even more questions came from within. Will He be there with me when this “place” of future conversations moves to another place?
Divinity: Jesus sees from her growing belief and confidence that she is ready to comprehend deeper truths. He knows when you are ready to receive more. He will fill you with the answers that you need not just for yourself but for others you meet in your journey. One of the truths of faith is that you are a vessel that is ever expanding, constantly filling. Whatever is not needed by you, will overflow for others. It can never reach the limits of size until you join us in death to touch the face of God. But for time that is now, you are free to decide how much time and energy you are willing to put into the minutes, hours and days you are willing to give to Jesus.
Jesus: “The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.”
Woman: Any doubts about what this man had shared with me evaporated. I was seeing that God was actually within my reach, not sealed up within the tabernacle at places of worship, accessible only to the privileged few. I understood that there were no boundaries and no limits to the possibilities where God might be.
Divinity: Forgiveness, faith, love, and hope filled her to overflowing. A new horizon became visible to her. In that hour, the Father that she thought was at a great distance is now always within her as Spirit. In her reaching out to know Jesus, she has discovered He has reached back to her, offering greater and greater ability to be with her in what will be miracle ways. If you have not already felt it, you will know the glorious feeling of Jesus reaching out to you. You will may already begin to recognize that truth and Spirit belong together, they cannot be thought of separately. Think about the times you are aware of receiving Jesus in Word, Eucharist, or maybe you have seen him by looking in the eyes of others that have great faith. Are not those the times you knew He was present? In reality, it does not take much to risk to believe that deep in your heart He is always present, you are always loved.
Woman: Since I cannot remember the last time I spent time at the Synagogue, I could not help but want to learn how to worship without fear. There was even more to his answer as it seemed that I could invite this Spirit to always be present to me. I had thought like many of my people that the Spirit was only for Prophets. In His reaching out to me, I could see that God the Father, the Spirit and this holy man who I was beginning to know are One in the same. It felt like I was needed to be of assistance to them with their love and by what was becoming present to me.
Divinity: Jesus opened her heart further to allow in more of what she is becoming to know. She understood that a small personal miracle had occurred. You can allow this same miracle of accepting Jesus for the truth of who He is, and what He can mean to you by opening your heart. We understand that it is a difficult task because the human mind seems to get in the way of the heart. The Holy Spirit can help you to see that the truth comes from the feelings of the heart not intellect.
Jesus: “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Divinity: She recognized the truth that God is the love that surrounds her. She had never felt this kind of love before. For the first time in her life, she feels satiated. Jesus has made his entire being available to her. Likewise Her entire being of body, mind, and soul is being prepared to become available to God. God gifts to you are not just spiritual but include the physical aspects of your entire being of senses, emotions and the imagination so that you can explore a deeper relationship with God and each other. She is in the process of being willing to learn even more about Jesus. Jesus is already unconditionally making himself available to you, without limits.
Woman: My joy in the moment allowed me to soar into areas I had not been before. This man knew me better than I know myself. I surrendered to His presence and completely trusted that He had more to share with me.
Divinity: What seemed out of her reach for her entire life now attracts her. She moved beyond her previous limits into a reality that she had unknowingly longed for. She is at peace, embraced by a beauty she never realized existed. She is also realizing that this beauty includes the gifts of others in her life. She is morphing like a butterfly getting wings, ready to take flight without fear. She is filled with joy that is so important in your life. You need this joy if you are to show others the difference connecting to Jesus makes to you. Shouldn’t those in your life be helped to know this joy like you have welcomed. With a prayerful thought, the beautiful gift of the peace of Christ is there for you at any time.
Woman: I felt an increase of courage to express even more because of the light that surrounded me. I let him know that I believed that that Christ the Messiah was coming in the future to proclaim all things to us.
Divinity: The woman became ready to be one of the first people to learn the fullness of Jesus. The intensity of the moment increased until it reached the fulfillment of Jewish tradition. You already know this similar moment as the height of Christian tradition when you receive Eucharist; Christ the Messiah. You have learned this from someone else, you are learning more even now in this moment. It is easier to encounter God with the other people in your lives who already have a sense of this love, embracing the knowledge of the Good News that Jesus is present for you in the here and now.
Jesus: “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”
Woman: My view could not have been more grand. I felt as if I was standing on the tallest mountain, absorbing everything my eyes could see. I instantly believed this man was the Messiah. I could not have been more fulfilled. What was I to do with the experience of this new understanding of love?
Divinity: The disciples had returned from acquiring food, astonished to see that he was speaking with a Samarian woman. In leaving to get food, they were also participating in your bodily need for food. Their role was not diminished, as God is full of joy that we are both spiritually and bodily fed. When you become friends with Jesus over time you will recognize the abundance God provides. He is there in your joys and gathering, letting you know the abundance is not for you to hold onto but to share with others so they to know the same abundance. From what they experience in the encounter of watching and knowing Jesus loves unconditionally, can take a lot of emotional effort on your part. This is especially true because it may not be apparent in the world you live it. As you can see, even Jesus’s disciples needed their hearts opened more. How can Jesus be alone talking to the woman who they know must be an outcast because she can only go to the well in the middle of the day? How often in your life are you presented with an opportunity to speak with someone outside of your own comfort zone? How do you react?
Woman: I could only guess what they were thinking. “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with this lowly woman?” From their expressions and body language, I did not think they understood that he had invited me to join their journey in my own unique way with Jesus. What it ultimately meant at the moment was outside of my capacity, but I had an incredibly strong desire to learn more and step outside of my normal self.
Divinity: Jesus’s encounter with the woman is also a lesson for the disciples or for that matter any future disciple such as yourself. At the time, they did not know Jesus would later be asking them to physically travel in pairs to bring the Good News into other cultures and beliefs. Jesus’s desire is that you do the same by not letting your internal boundaries prevent you from traveling with Him into encounters and places you have not been. What you are being fed needs to be shared.
Jesus: ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, “Four months more, then comes the harvest”? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, “One sows and another reaps.” I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.’
Woman: I became certain that His disciples like me were drawn to Him for many reasons. What He speaks to them about and from what I had just learned them, I understood that the spiritual food and living water that He is, and has shared with me is not just for me. I had to wonder how I could enter other’s labor. How am I going to possibly approach others when they see me as someone they want to avoid?
Divinity: She had reached the crux of what Christ asks. She and you will learn that sometimes you called to labor, sometimes to harvest and other times to enter with others into their labor. This calling is not just spiritual but to step into the shoes of others. At her present time she had to be a laborer, to re-enter her village renewed in hope, peace and love. She was to share the love she had received from Jesus with her neighbors. She will eventually remember that she has left behind her water jar. Her jar is a metaphorical container for her past transgressions, her past sins now belong to Christ. She will never again have to come to the well alone, Christ will always be with her like He is for you. He will help you leave behind your own jar wherever you go and give you what you need to do so.
Woman: I was overflowing with the desire to share what I have learned and who I am becoming. My interest in understanding what I have been asked is why I come directly to all of you. I have had an encounter with the Messiah. You may likewise know the feeling if you have had your own encounter. You will learn as I have to enjoy my life with Christ. Those of the world and without Christ may feel and describe what I do as duty. Is it a duty to be joyful and give yourself to others? In my case my encounter will last my entire lifetime. It will never dissipate. Come, come with me to meet and see the man who knows everything I have done. Come with me to see him as I do.
Divinity: She is not a woman with human nobility or wealth but with an experience and new treasures that are important for you to consider. Like you, she may be small in the universe, but look at her radiating with joy. Her village, and you in it with her, are in the constant process of accepting enough of what you hear from her to believe. She is extremely happy that her village and you, are going with her to know Jesus better. We will help to keep her satiated with the wealth of Grace because her own desire helps her to see that the miracle she has had is not a one time event but rather one that can repeat. She also remembers what she had heard of Jesus’s friends who were urging him to eat the food they had brought to him.
Woman: I had looked at the disciples returning with food seemly disappointed with many questions. Maybe they are not in the place I have been. Did they understand He is the life giving water? They had already been journeying with Him, do they know that because they sow, they will be with him during the harvest? Is the harvest an on-going process or is a onetime event? How am I going to participate when I know nothing of His metaphor? How can I be expected to do anything when He leaves with His disciples?
Divinity: Earlier in the day, she would not have appreciated it when he told her of food which she did not know. Now she has made great leaps of faith, including realizing Jesus has presented her with an opportunity to take her lowliness and use it as an advantage. He does the same with your weaknesses, reshaping them into strengths, especially preparing what you are lacking so that others can see what He has done for you.
Woman: My conversation was about consuming and sharing his living water and food. Jesus has taught me that it is the fruit of the mystery hidden within the relationship with Him, which can be cast outwards to others without fear. My faith and belief have allowed me to rise above who I was to no longer feeling like an outcast. I no longer have to hide until the middle of day to go to the well when no one else is nearby. Now I can enter directly into their midst with love that can fulfill their own needs. I know from deep inside that they will accept me back into the community.
Divinity: The disciples are perplexed, earlier they went to buy food and now he does not want any. He is no longer hungry, because he has been fed by the love from the woman and those she has brought towards him. The love he has given her has been multiplied and reflected back to Him in the form of her loving others. He is participating in ripple of love in His encounter with the people she led to him. What she has given them is echoed back in what he came to seek from her. The individuals in her community will have their own call. Their missions will be as unique as the stars in the sky.
Jesus does not leave behind the disciples who have been on the journey with him. He has an important lesson that they to need to learn. He hears them mumbling about going to get food that he requested and it seems like someone may have fed him but he speaks of a spiritual food.
Jesus: ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work.’
Divinity: Jesus’s food is also your food. Jesus is fed when you do as He has done, when you are as He is, and when you pray as He does. He gives you is the food that creates a desire within to help Jesus by doing the Father’s will with the unique gifts God has given you. You are called to complete Jesus’s work in this time and space. No one has to small or to large a task. In Gods eyes all task are equal, this is one of the lessons the disciples had to learn. They were not better but rather unique. The woman they encountered did not seem to belong in the same sphere as them, but eventually they understood. Sometimes God chooses someone from a community like he did with the woman as food for others for the purpose of increasing their belief or strengthen from within. For instance, from within your generation someone has already called to become a priest. You may even know him. He already has the Spirit to help with the gifts he may need. He needs your prayers and thoughts to help him realize and maximize his unique gifts. He needs you to help strengthen his future experiences with Jesus. Without even personally knowing him you can supplement what he may already have naturally, and perhaps even be part of something that he has yet to learn.
Woman: With my new found gift of courage, I continue to tell my story to my surrounding community. I am filled with humility and gratitude for the privilege to do so because I had nothing, now I have everything I could ever need. Friends, like me, you can receive with gratitude not only what you need but be overflowing with the kind of love I have been given. This love is desperately needed to be able to help others. I am certain Jesus’s love has entered you so that you can have concern, mercy, compassion, and understanding for others.
Divinity: In her time, she thought her story would be for within her community. She had no idea that billions would be influenced by her encounter. Her story continues to ripple, challenging you to walk in Jesus’s light, filled with generosity, and desire to Love God and neighbor. You are not alone, you are surrounded by those who are already pleased that you are doing small things for the Lord. He knows that the love you have and what you do ripples as it is given to someone that God has placed in front of you. You have the awesome opportunity to be His contemporary disciples.