Thirsting For Souls: Jesus, the Samaritan Woman, and the Sacrament of Confession
Last Sunday’s Gospel about the Woman at the Well (John 4:5-42) is very common during the season of Lent, and over the years, it has become one of my favorites.
Several years ago, I attended a women’s retreat, and an image of the Woman at the Well was the focal point. A small holy card was taped onto our retreat journals. Large posters with the image on it surrounded our meeting room. And every time I gazed upon it, I saw myself. I was the woman at the well. I was the woman in need of a drink. I was the one who Jesus was looking at so intently with those eyes of love.
Can you picture yourself as the woman? Take a moment and imagine yourself in the story.
Here is this woman, encountering Jesus. At first, she does not understand Him. Maybe she does not feel worthy of talking with Him, for she is a woman after all, and a Samaritan woman at that.
But with such love, He sits and talks to her. And in that moment, she is the only one who matters to Him.
He offers her water, life-giving water, that she may thirst no more but be filled completely.
And even though she reveals her past to Him, He doesn’t turn away. Rather, with mercy and love, He draws her closer unto Himself.
It is clear she has faith in the One who is to come, and when He tells her He is the Messiah, she cannot help but tell everyone around her about Him.
And so it is with me … and perhaps you, too.
Sometimes I feel like I can’t possibly be loved by Jesus. My sin is too big. My fear gets in the way. My past mistakes haunt me. I am bound by a spirit of regret, anger, despair, and doubt.
But Jesus does love me—and each one of you, too. He tells us this, Scripture reveals this to us, the Church teaches this, and so it is true. Jesus loves me. Jesus loves you.
Years after that retreat and my initial encounter with the Woman at the Well, I reflected again on this Scripture passage. For the first time, I noticed Jesus’ initial greeting. He says, “Give me a drink.” (v. 7) Those four words jumped out at me, and they felt awfully familiar.
I immediately recalled Jesus’ dying words from the cross: “I thirst.” (John 19:2) These two words run much deeper than mere human thirst. Jesus is thirsting for souls. He is dying (quite literally) for souls to turn back to the Father, so they can be united in Heaven for all eternity.
Oh how these two Scripture passages resemble each other! Jesus is thirsting for the soul of the Samaritan woman, too. He is longing to bring her back into right relationship with God.
And like the woman, He longs for us, too. He wants us to come to Him. He wants us to sit at His feet. He wants that time when it is just Him and us. He wants us to believe that we are that important to Him, because we are. He wants to fill us with life-giving water to banish once-and-for-all our sin, our fear, our doubt, and be redeemed by His overflowing mercy and love. All because He thirsts for you and for me.
My friends, we have an incredible, set-aside time to meet Jesus at the well. To drink deeply of His mercy, healing, forgiveness, love, grace, and peace. To come back again and again for more. The Sacrament of Confession is a type of well for our day, and Jesus is just waiting to lavishly pour out His mercy upon us, if only we ask and are open to receiving all that He has for us.
And while we go to Confession out of necessity of His saving grace and healing power, perhaps we can begin looking at Confession as an act of love for the Lord, too. He waits so patiently for us to come to Him, and when we do, we quench His thirst for our souls. We console His Sacred Heart that is longing for us to love Him and to seek His mercy, grace, and lavish blessings.
I hope to meet Him at the well to receive—yes! But I also hope to meet Him so that I may give Him my weary, imperfect, and scarred heart that He longs to hold and make whole again.
This Lent, let us make an extra-special effort to meet Jesus at the well, in the confessional. Then, with a renewed mind and heart, let us join Him on His journey to Calvary by taking up our own cross along side His. And as He suffers on the cross, thirsting for souls, let’s be brave enough to stand with Our Lady, as we give our heart completely to Him. That united to Him in suffering, we may experience Resurrection in the most fulfilling way possible. Deeply. Purely. Completely. Joyfully.
How long has the Lord been thirsting for your soul? How can you console His Sacred Heart and quench His thirst this Lent? In what ways does your soul need the life-giving water that Christ longs to give you?
For more information about the Catholic Women’s Blog Network (CWBN) Blog Hop or to read how others experience the Sacrament of Confession, please click the image above or HERE.
11 thoughts on “Thirsting For Souls: Jesus, the Samaritan Woman, and the Sacrament of Confession”
This is so beautiful!!
There is a quote by one of the saints (I want to say josemaria Escriva, but not entirely sure) who said something like, “Go visit Jesus in the Tabernacle – he has been waiting for you to visit for over 2 centuries…” (okay, that is a summary).
As I was considering my post on Confession, I kept thinking of that quote – I’ve used it before, regarding Adoration. But, reading your piece, that phrase entered my mind again.
Because you are correct – He is waiting, lovingly and patiently, and is ready for us when we are ready to greet Him.
May we all be like the woman at the well, and greet Him soon!
Thank you, Anni! Yes, I love that quote, even your paraphrasing 😉 Often, I found myself so impatient when I had to wait on the Lord, and then it dawned on me how much longer He has to wait on me! Yikes! I am learning to appreciate the waiting much more. I try to see it as I am waiting WITH Him, and in that waiting I find His company and hope.
God bless, Anni! I hope the rest of your Lent is fruitful and prayerful!
We were of like minds, it seems!
I love what you said about Jesus loving us in spite of our sin. Beautiful reminder!
Thanks so much for stopping by Ginny! God bless you!
This is one of my favorite stories in Scripture, where you get to see the “private Christ,” away from his entourage and the crowds and speaking privately, heart to heart, with a soul craving his presence. Just beautiful. Thanks for sharing!
Yes! I just love their intimate exchange. It is so real and personal. I wonder how many other private conversations Jesus had that we don’t know about!? Thanks so much for stopping by, Heidi! God bless!
This is one of my favorite passages from the Bible. I love the gentle way that Jesus deals with the Samaritan woman, loving her even for her “worts” and all. That gives me great comfort to know that Jesus will accept me as well with all my weaknesses and faults. A great lenten message.
Amen! He definitely accepts us just as we are, Shirley! And yet He doesn’t want to leave us where we are … Through tender compassion, He lifts us up and carries us through … God bless the rest of your Lenten journey!
What a beautiful analogy. Thank you for such a great perspective on this wonderful Bible Story!
Thanks for the kind comment, Emily! God bless you!
Oh, that was beautiful! Thank you! That parallel you drew was amazing and helped me to see this story in a completely different way.
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