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Meeting for Meditation

A group of us meet on Thursday evening for meditation. We sit in a circle and share briefly how our meditations have gone for the week.  I go over some of the meditation techniques such as breathing and repeating a word or words that have a spiritual meaning.  The we sit and quiet our restless minds.  
Our group is small, four or five, but I believe we have made real progress during this time of stillness.  I know that it has been wonderful for me to be a part of our small but mighty group and I can sense the energy we create.

We are usually finished after about twenty minutes and we share our experience with each other. I always look forward to our meeting

Fr. Fred

The Woman at the Well

Image result for the woman at the well

The Readings

The Gospel

John 4:5-42

Jesus came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.
A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (His disciples had gone to 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?” (Jews do not share things in common 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.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but 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.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “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!” The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these 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 Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”
Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” They left the city and were on their way to him.
Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “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.”
Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”

The Sermon

I decided to title this sermon King Kong, Jesus, and the Woman at the Well. You may be asking yourself, what does a movie about an enormous ape and this ancient story about Jesus and a woman at the well have to do with each other. Let me explain. This most recent version of King Kong starts out with a WWII scene. A Japanese and American fighter pilot are locked in an epic dog fight over the Pacific. Unfortunately, they each deal a crippling blow to the others plane and both men find themselves parachuting onto a remote island. They each land not more than one hundred yards from the other.

At first they continue their battle on land but after a brief struggle they see an even bigger threat (Kong) and realize if either of them wants to survive on this dangerous island they must join forces. By joining forces to survive they also become best friends.

Are you still struggling with how this relates to our gospel reading?

Jews and Samaritans were in many respects enemies. There were rules of engagement between these two opposing groups and basically Jews were to have as little to do with Samaritans as possible and vice – versa. Jesus disregarded those rules of engagement. He began an eye opening conversation with this woman at the well. Jesus saw her as a soul, broken in many ways, who needed the living water he was offering.

Last week we read about Nicodemus and his discussion with Jesus about being born again. Nicodemus finally understood that Jesus was talking about spiritual rebirth and in today's reading the Samaritan woman understands that Jesus is not talking about offering her physical water but spiritual living water. She becomes convinced that Jesus is the real deal. He is the chosen one, the messiah.

I pose a question to you. Do you have a source of living water in your life? From where do you draw your spiritual sustenance? There are pools of living water all around us. We just need to notice. Christ's living water is there for me when we celebrate the eucharist I am moved by the words and imagery those words create. Luke writes, He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples and said, “this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” The power of this final meal for Jesus moves me.

May you drink of the everlasting spiritual water in your life.

Fr. Fred

Connecting the Dots

Next Sunday's gospel reading is the story of the woman at the well.  It is familiar to many of us.  Jesus makes it clear to the woman he meets at the well that he knows of her past even though they have never met before this encounter at the well.  I have been thinking about this story a lot and at the same time I have been reading The Underground Church by Robin Meyers.  I just finished a chapter on belief and faith.  Meyers writes that faith and trust are intertwined and I started thinking about how that fits in with the story of the woman at the well.

She was suspicious of this Jew asking for water at a Samaritan well who began to preach to her about living water.  He does not make much progress with her until he tells her he knows she has had five husbands and now lives with a man to whom she is not married. She now believes he is the messiah and runs back to the village to share this good news with the other villagers.

The lady quickly believed after Jesus shared what he knew about her.  Is that the same as faith?  Is it the same as trust?  It seems to me that faith and trust are built over time and they are closely tied to truth.  If I have always told you the truth you have faith that I will be trusted to be truthful in the future.  If I ever lie to you, trust will quickly dissipate and you will begin to question and sometimes doubt the truthfulness of what I say.

The woman at the well knew that Jesus had told the truth about her and she connected the dots.  Jesus miraculously new her history and he told her in so many words that he was the messiah.  She trusted that he was who he said he was.

All of this ruminating on truth, trust and faith have made me think about my own relationship with others.  Priests need to be trusted and we must be mindful that we are expected to keep that standard of honesty in all that we do.