We can best get started this week by reading each of the three readings very carefully. They were written with such great care. These powerful portraits of Jesus reveal to us wonderful ways to discover the same presence of Jesus in our everyday lives. The key to this week is how we let these stories enter the background of our week. The more familiar we become with the dynamics of the three encounters with Jesus, the better we will be at finding fruit in reflecting throughout the week on the dynamics of our own lives with Jesus.
If we take each story and break it open in our reflections, we will begin to see questions that we can chew all week.
Why did the Samaritan woman come to draw water at noon, the hottest time of the day? Did she want to avoid the times the other women in town came to the well? What are the places in my life where I am embarrassed, where I avoid interaction with others? What are the noonday wells of my life? Can I imagine Jesus approaching me there?
Jesus tries to reveal his thirst to her — perhaps his thirst for intimacy with her — but she puts him off. She’s not worthy. It won’t work. When he offers to satisfy her thirst, she puts him off. He can’t satisfy what she needs, at least with this well, and without a bucket. How do I put Jesus off, with excuses, with problems, with barriers? I don’t have time; I haven’t done this before; my stuff’s too complicated; I don’t know how to find you in this mess.
When he shows her that he knows her, she knows she’s in the presence of someone special — perhaps the one she has thirsted for all her life. Do I let Jesus show me that he knows and understands me? Can I find the words to say he is the one I have thirsted for all my life?
The man born blind washed the mud from his eyes in the pool called Siloam, “The one who is sent.” How is Jesus a pool to wash the mud from my eyes that I might see?
As soon as he could see, his life became very difficult. People wondered whether he was the same man before they believed that he could now see. Has the restoration of my sight so changed me that others are surprised at the transformation? So much fear seems to surround the restoration of his sight. What fears do I now have to seeing clearly who Jesus is and what choices I must make to be with him?
Martha speaks profound sorrow at the death of Lazarus, but it is tinged with a touch of blaming Jesus: “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.” Where do I resent the losses in my life and somehow blame God for them rather than see them as places where God’s glory will be revealed? Even when Jesus tells Martha, “I am the one who raises the dead to life!” she finds it hard to believe that he means now, in the case of her dead brother. Where do I doubt that Jesus can bring life?
Jesus stands before the tomb weeping. He places no barriers to his feelings about death. Could he be staring at and facing the tomb of his own death? Can I be with him there? Can I stand before and face the tombs in my daily life?
Jesus shouts the liberating words of life, “Lazarus, come forth!” How is he shouting that to me today?