I’m thinking this week about an event that happened in Jesus’ life and is recorded in John 4. It’s a rather long story of a Samaritan woman who meets Jesus at a well. She comes to the well at noon. Jesus is there and they have a long conversation over many verses. At the end of it, she leaves her water jug at the well – empty – and goes home. And... she becomes a great evangelist for Jesus because, through that conversation, she becomes a convert. She believes in him as she didn’t before. And many people come to believe in Jesus because of her testimony.
The classical interpretation of this event is that she left her water jar – empty and at the well – because she didn’t need it anymore. She came looking for “running” water, but she left having received the “living” water – Jesus the Christ! As Jesus would say just 2 chapters later, “Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
But I would like to think about this story in this way today.
This woman came to the well with a plan in mind. A definite plan. An agenda. She was there to get water. But she was not so focused on that plan that she was unable to be interrupted by the holy encounter that Jesus offered. She was not held captive by her agenda so much that she missed the God who was right in front of her.
There are many of us who fill our days with activity. We are busy; on the move. We have things to do and if we have a free moment, we’ll find something else to do. We live our lives by a schedule; a plan; an agenda for the day. This is, in some ways, a gift. If not for this kind of busy-ness, many wonderful things wouldn’t get done. And yet, there is a dark side to this kind of living as well. And that is that we may miss the ways that God might be trying to intervene and “holy interrupt” our day with a divine encounter that we desperately need.
Those that know me well know that I’m “preaching to the choir” on this one. But I have to think I am not entirely alone. And so I’d like to remind those of you who, like me, are prone to busy-ness, that the season of Lent is an invitation to us to slow down; to allow God to break in to the schedule that we so otherwise adequately keep. So that we may not miss the holy gifts God.