He told me everything I have done!

Woman at the Well by Diane Gardner

Homily for the Third Sunday of Lent
(Scriptures for today's liturgy)

Audio for homily

The longest conversation Jesus has with any one person in the gospels
is the one he has here with the woman at the well,
who came to draw water at high noon.

The scriptures don’t give the woman a name
but an old tradition calls her Photina.

In the town of Sychar, the midday heat kept folks at home in the shade
so Photina may have chosen just this hour to come to the well,
hoping to avoid the glances of those who would gossip
and look down on her history of five husbands.

How curious, then, how ironic
that just when Photina hoped she might escape any notice at all,
she encounters the One who can tell her
everything she’s ever done!

He told her everything she’d ever done…

There’s nothing in my life that Jesus doesn’t know.
He sees through all the ways I try to hide from him,
He knows all ways I try to lock up my heart,
hoping he won’t get in and see what I’m keeping there.
He sees my sins before I’m tempted to commit them
and he sees all the ways I try to convince myself
that I don’t really sin -- even when I know I have.

Look at how Jesus encounters Photina:
- in the middle of her day, as she goes about her ordinary chores;
- at the very moment she wants to avoid confronting her own sins
- he takes her off guard, catches her unawares
- he meets her not where she wishes she could be
but right where she is -- in the moment
- he connects with her in the stuff of her daily life (fetching water)
to teach her something about her life, her heart, her faith
- he comes in ordinary guise: a thirsty man

At first, Photina thinks she might have won the lottery!
Here’s a guy who says he’s got water that will last forever!

Think of that: she’d never be thirsty again
and she’d never have to come back to the well
and be embarrassed by people staring at her again!

But as is usually the case, Jesus doesn’t offer a quick-fix.
Nor does he offer just a band-aid
when wounds are in need of deep healing.

And here's how Jesus touches Photina’s vulnerability:
he asks her the “husband question.”
That’s where it hurts and that’s the hurt she’s trying to hide.
And that’s the wound these saving waters wait
to flush and cleanse and heal.

How about us?

I wonder... how many times just this Lent 
has Jesus crossed my path and yours,
in the middle of our ordinary days…

Have we seen him - or have we missed him?

I wonder how many times he came to offer us just what we need,
even if we ourselves have been denying our need
for what the Lord has to offer us.

I wonder how many times has Jesus gently probed 
our deepest wounds, our sins - 
not to judge or condemn us,
but to heal and forgive us.

Lent is a time for keeping our eyes and hearts open for Jesus
who often comes to us in times, in places, in ways we least expect.

He comes to help to heal the wounds we’d like to hide,
to heal what our hungers and thirsts have done to us,
to give us food and drink that truly satisfy
and nourish and nurture us.

We come to this table now with many hurts we’d rather hide
and Jesus meets us here, to give us the food and drink
which is his life, offered once on the Cross
and now at this altar.

This sacrament, this meal is for our healing
and to help us know our hearts’ deepest longings
and how those longings are best met and filled.

Jesus is the One who told Photina everything she’d ever done.

And he can tell you and he can tell me everything we’ve ever done.

And so he does,
that in the telling we might be healed
and in the healing we might be saved.

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