It was an ordinary day. She was going about her daily routine: Stoking the fir, making bread for breakfast, cleaning up, sweeping her dirt floor, and airing out the house. And now it was about noon and time to go the well and fill her jar with water to last until the next day.
She saw a man sitting by the well. She somehow knew he was a Jew. Maybe it was the way he dressed or his facial features or his accent as his asked for a drink of water. Of course she was taken aback at this breach of etiquette. The Jews barely tolerated her people although they shared some history, for instance, Jacob and his son Joseph. But she and the rest of her people were considered “unclean” by the Jews. It seems after they were conquered about 720 BCE, the Assyrians deported most of the ruling class, artisans, and the well-to-do to other lands they conquered and repopulated Samaria with other people they had likewise conquered. In time, these “foreigners” and the remaining Jews intermarried, thus polluting the blood lines.
And so, she challenged this impertinent Jew. He replied with a surprising answer about living water, and then asked her to go and get her husband. Now something in his manner impelled her to tell the truth about her marital status - or lack of it. He then revealed a further truth about her which astounded her. She looked more closely at him and saw gentleness, mercy, and understanding in his eyes. She was accepted for who she was and what had happened to her! How different from the women and the majority of men of her town who shunned her, making her come to draw water in the heat of the day when she wouldn’t have to meet them and endure their hostility. And the conversation continued - and deepened. Eventually this strange but gentle man, after setting her straight about the role of the Jewish people in salvation, revealed to her something astounding about himself: he was the Messiah, the Christ! She had to tell the people of the town, not about that claim, but that he told her everything she had done.
A chance meeting, a simple request, and a conversation turned an ordinary day into an extraordinary one.
God is present among us and within us and in everyone we meet and all the ordinary things we do. If we only pay attention and are attuned to the Spirit, who knows what extraordinary things could happen?
3rd Sunday of Lent, A, 2017