The well was the biblical meeting place, where one often met a future spouse. Many a couple still meet at a watering hole, but, of course, where the drink of preference is not water. A well was the Old Testament version of eharmony.com.
Jacob met his wife Rachel when she came to the well at noon. He did not win her immediately. It took some doing.
Jesus sat at Jacob’s well at about noon, when a woman arrived. It is no wonder that the disciples were a bit surprised and stressed to see the two of them together at the well. It is also no wonder that the conversation turned towards marriage. But the conversation is about marriage of a different kind.
Jesus had come through Samaria on purpose and for a purpose: to woo the people of Samaria into a right relationship, to win them over. As we hear the conversation about, “Get your husband … I have no husband … you are correct, you have had five … and the one you are with now is not your husband,” we imagine Jesus fighting the inclination to end, “not yet!” We know what he has in mind. And we know who she is with right now, who is not her husband, yet: Jesus.
Rather than thinking of a woman walking down the aisle five times, each time to meet her man in a wedding ceremony, and five times being disappointed, think: marriage between God and his people, Christ wedded to the Church, the community of believers being the Bride of Christ, who is the Spouse of the Church.
Jesus had come through Samaria to win the Samaritans into a “marriage” that would be life-giving and eternally lasting, not like the five “marriages” that they entered into with the gods and the cultures of the conquering people, which always led to a disappointing life foreign to their Jewish faith.
Jesus had come to Samaria to win the whole people of Samaria over from their five bad marriages into the one good one – with him! He started with her, and she helped him pull it off. She left the well and went to her home and her town to bring the announcement that there was going to be wedding, not with a dead beat husband, but with the Savior of the world.
As I went to the well this morning at Mass, it dawned on me that I often speak to God the same five faults, failings, missteps, habits and sins. I confess the same handful of sins to the priest. It seems like I am married to this handful – these five things – that get me nowhere and keep me from being free and happy.
I must return to the well of Sunday Mass every week to be wooed from my bad five marriages.
Today’s homily is at minute 21:50 of our parish’s “On-Demand Archives” under the titled, “Bible eHarmony.com”