The scene is captivating. Tired on his journey, Jesus sits down next to Jacob’s Well. Soon a woman arrives to draw water. She belongs to a semi-pagan people, despised by the Jews. Right out of the blue, Jesus begins the dialogue. He doesn’t know how to look down on anyone, only how to look at them with deep tenderness. «Woman, give me something to drink».
The woman stops in her tracks. How dare he be in contact with a Samaritan? Why does he lower himself to speak with an unknown woman? Jesus’ words surprise her all the more: «If you only knew what God is offering and who it is that is saying to you, ’Give me something to drink’, you would have been the one to ask, and he would have given you living water».
Many people, especially lately, find themselves far away from God, without even knowing what is really going on inside of them. By now God ends up ‘something strange’ to them. Everything connected to God seems to them to be empty and meaningless: a childish world, fading into the past.
I understand them. I know what they might be feeling. I too find myself further and further away from such a «God of my childhood» that used to awaken in me so many fears, grief, unease. Probably without Jesus I never would have met a God who for me today is a Mystery of goodness: a presence that is friendly and welcoming, in whom I can always trust.
The task of verifying my faith with scientific proofs has never attracted me: I believe it’s wrong to treat the mystery of God as if it were a laboratory project. Neither have religious dogmas helped me to meet God. I simply have let myself be led by a confidence in Jesus that has continued growing over the years.
I wouldn’t know to say exactly how my faith sustains me today in a religious crisis that hits me as much as everyone else. I would only say that Jesus has brought me to live a faith in God in a simple way from the bottom of my being. If I listen, God isn’t silent. If I open myself, God isn’t closed. If I entrust myself, God welcomes me. If I give myself, God sustains me. If I fall down, God raises me up.
I believe that the first and most important experience is to find a way to enjoy God because we perceive God as a «saving presence». When a person knows what it is to enjoy God because, in spite of our mediocrity, faults and selfishness, God welcomes us as we are and leads us to go about living in peace, then it would be difficult to abandon the faith. Many people today are abandoning God without ever having known God. If they would know the experience of God that Jesus spreads, they would be seeking God. If they recognized the gift that God is, welcoming Jesus into their lives, they wouldn’t abandon God. They would find themselves enjoying God.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf