John 4:15-19 — As The Deer Pants …

The [Samaritan] woman said to [Jesus], “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.

In our last reflection, we spoke about a God-sized hole in the human soul. It is a result of our desire for safety and security, for significance and importance, but most of all, for love. We look for these things in the world, but they can never satisfy us. We can find satisfaction only in God.

Consider the Samaritan woman in this story. She was married five times and none of the marriages worked. She was now living with prospective husband #6. Her search for love and security drove her into multiple relationships, trying to find fulfillment in them, but only ending up unsatisfied.  

Her story reflects the reality of the human condition. We keep looking for love in all the wrong places. God's love is the only source of true satisfaction and acceptance, otherwise we will be forever thirsty. As the psalmist beautifully puts it, "As a deer pants for streams of water, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God" (Psalm 42:1-2). 

Through his conversation with the Samaritan woman, Jesus tries to make us recognize our thirst for God. He also tries to make us understand it can be found in him and through him. God showed his love for us by sending Jesus to die for us and give us new life. Now, Jesus was showing his love for us by giving us his Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would ensure that we were constantly refreshed so we would never thirst again.

There are two footnotes to this story. John had earlier mentioned that it was about noon when the woman went to draw water from the well. This is significant. Most people draw water in the morning when it is cooler. Besides, they also need water for the day. Why did this woman go at midday? While there could have been several reasons, a very probable reason is that she wanted to avoid encountering the other women from the community. She was obviously a subject of gossip being married several times and now living out of marriage with another man. 

A second note is how Jesus revealed his divine omniscience to the woman, telling her about her past and her present. The realization that Jesus knew her heart and history astounds her, leading her to acknowledge him as a prophet. This results in another fascinating discussion which we will consider tomorrow. 

God bless you.