She had five husbands and she was living with a man who wasn’t her husband when she met Jesus. It means she had at least six men in her life. We don’t know how her marriages ended. Her husbands might have died or she might have been divorced. Any way, her perseverance through six marriages shows that she was looking for love in her life, but she had failed. She was left with nothing. To be honest there was one thing she was left with. Let's look at how she came up to the well. St John says she approached the well at six o’clock. Six o’clock means midday. Why did he mention that she came to draw water at midday? She was ashamed to meet anybody. In the cool of the morning and the evening the place must have been very busy as all the people of the town came to get some water for themselves and to water their animals. Going to the well at midday she could be sure she would meet no one because all the residents stayed home to avoid the heat. To cut the long story short we have a woman desperately looking for love and ashamed of her personal story. What was wrong with her that she couldn’t find love?
The life of the woman was like drawing water from a well. We know that if we want to draw some water from a well we need a bucket or so. Having no bucket we cannot reach the water. The woman applied the principle to her search for love, that if she was to be loved by someone else, she had to do or be something to attract him. She believed: “I may find love if I am beautiful, intelligent, etc.” In one word: attractive. It was her bucket to get other’s people love. However it didn’t work. Though there were many men in her life, she was separated from other people, always trying her best to keep herself attractive, all this made her life tough.
Please notice that she applies this same rule when she starts talking to Jesus. He asks her: “Give me a drink.” The water here means love, so Jesus asks her: “Give me your love. Love me.” Her answer is: “You have no bucket” we could say that her answer was: “You don’t have anything to attract me and to make me love you. Even who you are makes things worse. You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan. We don’t have anything in common.”
However, Jesus doesn’t give up and declares the willingness to bless her with the living water, with his love. Although she doesn’t understand well what’s going on now, she discovers one thing. There is a man who demands nothing in return to love her. “Give me some of that water, - she says - so that I may never get thirsty and never have to come and to draw again.” We can see how Jesus is slowly opening her heart to accept a new life style. She sees an example of unconditional love. But there is still one thing to discover. Jesus is leading her to discover his identity as God.
“Where do you know the story of my life from? - She asks - How can you know my life through and through? I know that Messiah – that is Christ – is coming and when he comes he will tell us everything.”
“I who am speaking to you – says Jesus – I am he.”
From that moment, everything was changed in her life. St John says: “the woman put down her water jar.” It means she left behind her old life style, her old thinking. The water jar which was a symbol of her seeking of love wasn’t needed any longer. She met her love and she knew she didn’t need to attract him to be loved.
Do you still remember how she approached the well? She came stealthily at midday so as not to be seen by anybody. What is she doing now? She is shouting as she is going through the town. Her shame has disappeared. She isn’t ashamed any longer. She is free as new life was offered to her.
Sisters and Brothers! The woman approached the well with her broken life. When she met Jesus she started to look at her life differently. The church gives us this Gospel on our way to Easter so that we could experience the unconditional love of Jesus at the well of Baptismal Font which will be blessed at Easter Vigil. For some people this Vigil will be the night of their Baptism when the waters of Baptism wash not only their bodies but also pour the living water which is the love of Jesus into their hearts. For us who have been baptised it will be the night of refreshing, renewing and rediscovering of this love we have been loved by the Lord who didn’t hesitated to die for us. I pray for you my friends in Christ so that coming from Easter Masses you may be filled with the same feelings which were in the heart of the Samaritan woman when she was running back to her town after meeting with Jesus at well.