Today’s readings are full of thirsty people. God quenches their thirst in unexpected ways. Sometimes, we distract ourselves from what we’re really thirsty for by focusing on things we want that will never satisfy us. God always gives us what we really need.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
“Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it
for the people to drink.”
If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Romans 5:1-2, 5-8
But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
“Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
Have you ever gone on a long walk and didn’t bring water with you? Or have you ever been sick and didn’t drink enough fluids to stay hydrated? Feeling thirsty is awful. Millions of people in our world today don’t have enough water, or even clean water to keep them healthy. Many die from lack of clean water. The first reading tells the story of the Israelites traveling through the desert on their way to the Promised Land. They didn’t have enough water and complained bitterly about it and even doubted whether God was with them because they were so thirsty. Moses, with the help of God, was able to give them water to drink, and restored their faith…for now.
In the second reading, Paul tells us how much God loves us–so much that even when we are behaving badly, God gives us what we need and offers us forgiveness and salvation.
The Gospel today is a great story about Baptism. Jesus meets a woman who is shunned by her community and she goes out of her way to avoid them. He offers her water that will never dry up–he’s talking about the water of Baptism, but she thinks it’s indoor plumbing or something. She’s excited because she thinks she will be able to continue living the way she was (which was not a good way) and not have to see anyone who would judge her. In fact, Jesus is offering her reconciliation; with God, with herself and with her town. She finally understands and is so changed that the people who had no respect for her are suddenly converted by her story about Jesus’ kindness toward her. They want to meet him, too, and receive the same water that she was given. God doesn’t want us to live in loneliness and isolation–God wants us to share our lives with people who love us.
Can you imagine never having clean water to drink? What do you think that would feel like? How can you help save water so that there is enough for everyone?
Jesus was breaking every cultural rule there was by talking to the woman at the well, so much so, that when the Apostles came back and found him with her, they were shocked and didn’t know what to do. Jewish men weren’t allowed to speak to women they didn’t know, never alone, Jews didn’t ever speak to Samaritans, and they would never touch anything that belonged to them–and that goes double for a Samaritan woman! Jesus didn’t see the boundaries between him and the woman; he saw a hurting woman who needed kindness, acceptance and forgiveness. He told her the truth about her without judgement, and that encounter changed her completely. Who really sees you–who looks past your moods, your masks, your attitudes and really sees you? How does having someone like that feel? Are you that person for anyone else? What difference could that make in a person’s life?
Who are the women at the well in our world? Do you ever struggle with being there for people who are considered outcast? How comfortable would you be hanging out with someone like the woman at the well? Would you let your friends catch you there?
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”