Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by [Jacob’s] well. It was about noon. A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’. The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ 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? 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.’
When Jesus finished his discourse with the Samaritan woman, it should be as clear as a crystal glass of spring water to the woman, and to us, that the messianic time has come and the Messiah is Jesus. It should be that clear, yet the gorgeous truth still seems murky and not quite thirst-provoking for many of us. This discourse follows the same pattern as so many of Jesus’ teaching moments. He opens with a question or statement delivered in clean prose. “Give me a drink.” “…no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” The student always hears the literal, temporal version of Jesus’ words. Jesus repeatedly re-states his case, each time slightly differently, until the student/we learn something about ourselves, opening our eyes to the eternal of which Jesus teaches. We learn from Jesus that once we are honestly aware of our thirst, we will find water where we couldn’t expect it
I understand how ancient mariners could fear the horizon, believing the earth to be flat. It just looks that way, but the horizon is simply the image of the limitations of our seeing. When I began navigating submarines, I could not “see” the horizon or even the ocean in which we operated. I had to calculate it in 3-dimensions, latitude, longitude, bottom, and surface; and hold the perception of our place in my mind’s eye. The ocean became beautiful and huge. It held fearsome unknowns, yet it revealed a visceral familiarity. It was from the vast, salty darkness that God coaxed our primeval forebears to choose the soggy land for a nursery.
In early March 1970, I was allowed a peek beyond the arithmetic of my circumstance and experience an earthly manifestation of living water. At dusk, after traversing the Panama Canal, our submarine slipped beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean and turned northwest to parallel the coast of Central America, before turning due west to Hawaii. It was high season for the southern migration of Grey and Humpback whales heading to birthing lagoons along the coast of Baja California and Panama. For twelve hours in the darkened control room, we listened to the call-and-answer songs of hundreds of these giant, gentle creatures, often close aboard: Pregnant females calling to their mates miles behind them. Yearling calves, travelling with their moms, practicing the family songs at journey’s end: “Are we there yet, mommy?” “Nearly, my love.” “Your father and I have a gift for you when we get to the lagoon…a sister.” “Will the sister sing like us?” “She will sing a song you will never forget; the song of new birth.”
We listened in the darkness, transfixed. My filled eyes closed, I now saw the vast arithmetic of the ocean not as salt water, but as a living medium that supported an order of Love and Life I could not have expected. I think of that night when our Savior teaches of Living Water. It was the night the feebleness of my seeing no longer created a boundary.
-Marsden Leverich Moran
Musical Reflection - Lullaby from the Great Mother Whale for the Baby Seal Pups - Paul Winter Consort
God of all creation nurture our Great Thirst, that we may seek out and drink of the Living Water you cry for us. Teach us about ourselves that we all may finally see and talk beyond the false horizon of skin color, to share the Love of the Living Water…the Love of which your servant Martin Luther King spoke without ceasing” Amen.
“Non-violence is absolute commitment to the way of love… [Love] is the active outpouring of one's whole being into the being of another.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.