Turning Over Stones

Here are some stones I have overturned to see what ideas are underneath. I hope you can grab hold of something, pull -- and discover that it has some homiletic roots for you.

I have to admit that after reading over a dozen commentaries on this particular Gospel I became completely overwhelmed with the seemingly bottomless homily possibilities.

This Gospel is so very rich in themes and it seems that every detail is simply a tip of an iceberg of historical and cultural significance.

However, the theme that has stood out more than any other theme for me is the depiction of the basic thirst for water as symbolic of the deepest desires of the human heart.

The woman thirsts for water.

The woman has thirsted for love.

The woman thirsts for religious truth.

She has not found anything with which to satisfy these yearnings with any permanence; yet she tries nevertheless.

It seems that life can be like this for everyone. We do not ask the right questions or we lack self-knowledge or personal insight. Before we happen upon the right questions that will provide some answers to why we do the things we do -- why we try to satisfy deep yearnings with that which does not satisfy -- we sometimes flounder in cyclical behaviors of unfulfillment or even self-destruction.

What we learn from this story is that we too must enter into dialogue with Jesus in our prayer if we are to try to find answers to the questions in our lives. We must believe that Jesus wants to engage us in our questions. We must believe that Jesus holds the answers for us. We must believe that Jesus knows everything about us. We must believe that Jesus will challenge us. We must believe that we too can gain a deeper understanding of our faith and who Jesus is for us.

We are like the woman at the well in so many ways.

With what have we been trying to satisfy our thirsts? Does it involve Jesus?

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