Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Praying for Unity

Then the woman left her water jar (John 4:28)
Genesis 11:31-12:4 God promises to make Abram a great nation and a blessing 
Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd 
Acts 10:9-20 "What God has made clean, you must not call profane" 
John 4:25-28 Then the woman left her water jar 


The encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman shows that dialogue with the different, the stranger, the unfamiliar, can be life-giving. If the woman had followed the rules of her culture, she would have left when she saw Jesus approaching the well. That day, for some reason, she did not follow the established rules. Both she and Jesus broke with conventional patterns of behaviour. Through this breaking forth they showed us again that it is possible to build new relationships. 

As Jesus completes the work of the Father, the Samaritan woman, for her part, leaves her water jar, meaning that she could go further in her life; she was not confined to the role society imposed on her. In John’s Gospel she is the first person to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah. "Breaking forth" is a necessity for those who desire to grow stronger and wiser in their faith. 

That the Samaritan woman leaves behind her water jar signals that she has found a greater gift, a greater good than the water she came for, and a better place to be within her community. She recognizes the greater gift that this Jewish stranger, Jesus, is offering her. 

It is difficult for us to find value, to recognize as good, or even holy, that which is unknown to us and that which belongs to another. However, recognizing the gifts that belong to the other as good and as holy is a necessary step towards the visible unity we seek. 


  1. Meeting Jesus demands that we leave behind our water jars, what are those water jars for us? 

  2. What are the main difficulties that prevent us from doing so?


Loving God, 
help us to learn from Jesus and the Samaritan 
that the encounter with the other opens for us new horizons of grace. 
Help us to break through our limits and embrace new challenges. 
Help us to go beyond fear in following the call of your Son. 
In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.