by Bishop Michael McKenna, Catholic Diocese of Bathurst.
In prayer Jesus meets us in our need.
A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
The Bible is full of images and stories about water, and the lack of it. It is vital to our human existence; and we experience this most keenly when we don’t have enough.
We know that this current drought has become the worst on record; and it does not look like ending soon. A slow-moving natural disaster is laying waste to our livestock, crops and pastures. Our dams are running dry; our aquifers are depleted. We know all too well the human cost of this, for farmers, families, local enterprises and communities. Faced with this situation, as people of faith we turn to God and begin in honest and sorrowful lamentation.
Turning to God, we remember that Jesus has told us to pray for what we want, and to persevere in that prayer. We do want rain, and plenty of it, so we should keep praying for that. We also need to pray for one another: and in that prayer seek the wisdom to know how best to be of service to those who are suffering the most from this adversity.
John’s Gospel provides us with a number of episodes in which we can see the delicacy and strength of Jesus in real human situations. His meeting with the Woman at the Well is worth reading in full and repays long and quiet meditation.
The Samaritan woman begins by debating with Jesus: this turns into a dialogue in which she finds herself known and loved by Him. Something like that can happen for you and me in sincere prayer, as we spend time with Jesus, Who is so close to us in whatever we are going through. Something in our conversation with Him that leads us through our immediate needs to discover our deepest thirst: for the living water of eternal life.
Father of all creation, by whose power the whole earth came to be, look upon our parched land, we pray, and bestow upon it abundant rain, that pastures fields and paddocks may by Your goodness thrive once more.
And, Lord, may we continue to seek and gratefully accept, the living water that sustains us for eternity.