“Not only the thirsty seek water, the water as well seeks the thirsty.”
Today, we have from Matthew’s gospel the Samaritan woman encountering Jesus at the well. It’s a story of this woman not only encountering Jesus AT the well, but also AS the well. In those days, drinking water didn’t flow from a water filtration plant into pipes and out of our faucets. Or better yet, you didn’t get it from the refrigerator in a plastic bottle! She may have had to walk a great distance to get the water. It was not an easy trek, and it could also be dangerous. Getting water was quite an endeavor.
Yet, what she received in her “bucket” was more than she asked for. The water she was looking for was for cleaning and for satisfying thirst. What she got was a water that came searching for her, and satisfied her on a very deep level.
I work in the field of addiction and substance use disorder. I see and hear of people who are steeped in addiction, and trying to break free from it. I wonder how many of us walk around as “addicts,” trying to satisfy some hunger in us? In this desire for satisfaction, we may turn to drugs, alcohol, pornography, abuse, compulsion or perfection. We might be trying to satisfy a deep hunger with things that are temporary and just don’t have the lasting power of the water of life. We might look for the quick fix, the “snack” to tide us over. But it never does. We crave more...and more….and more. And never really feel quite satisfied.
Maybe, like the Samaritan woman, we need to look a bit more deeply at ourselves to see what we are truly craving for, or what is missing in our lives. Are we craving relationship? Love? Companionship? Acceptance? Purpose? Courage? Freedom? Release from something or someone? An ability to see a wider vision of the world or of myself?
Instead of reaching for that go to “snack,” might we reach out for something that has a bit more shelf life to it? Maybe reach out to someone who can really tap into our craving and help us see what we really desire? The journey might not be so much about going to the snack cabinet as it is about going to the inner cabinet of who I am, and taking a long look at what is truly missing. Honestly look at what we truly need to satisfy this thirst for more. To find the part of us, the deepest part of us, that is craving to be recognized, heard, and loved. My suspicion is that when we allow ourselves to go to that place, we will also encounter the One who can satisfy those cravings. The One she encountered at the well.
Water and the things of this world will never bring us what we truly need. Only the Well that seeks us will bring us healing, wholeness, and a water that will bathe us in new life.