With the spread of the virus reaching an alarming trend, everyone is required to observe “Social Distancing”, which is to stay a minimum two meters away from the next person beside us. It also means to stay home and disengage from being in crowded places. This is to “flatten the curve”, or to stop its logarithmic growth.
During the time of Jesus, there was also a similar situation in that Jews stayed away from Samaritans. That is why, in the Gospel (Jn. 4: 5-42), the woman was surprised why Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” The Samaritan woman said to him,
“How can you, a Jew, ask me a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
Our Lord was there sitting at the well, tired from his journey. Fr. Armand Robleza, SDB, shared his insights in today’s Live Online Mass about why the woman went to draw water about noontime, and not in the morning or in the afternoon. It is the impression that the woman may have timed it by purpose when everyone’s inside due to the hot weather at noon time. She was afraid that people may get her and accuse her of adultery, a very serious offense in those days.
The Lord and the woman exchanged a thoughtful conversation on the well until Jesus said to her,
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;
but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst;
the water I shall give will become in him
a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
In our life, there are many moments that we are afraid of something; these times, we are afraid of the virus — no, it’s not the virus that we are afraid of — rather it is the idea of dying from it. Yet we are to be reminded that death is something that isn’t normally planned nor is it something that we are certain of happening in a definite time. (I say “normally planned” unless one is having mental health issues one way or the other, or you also become careless with your health.) At the end of the day, when God calls you to go, whether you are inflicted with the virus or not, you have no choice but to answer His call.
The Samaritan woman experienced it and you may experience it too: the moments that you are in a state of fear and anxiety, just be hopeful and believe that the Lord is just beside you, waiting for your call and plea for help. When we are afraid, there is no other assurance that can comfort us except with the faith and the thought that the Lord is nearby, ready to comfort us.
In theFirst Reading (Ex. 17: 3-7), the situation isn’t different from what we are experiencing now. The Israelites were questioning “Is the Lord in our midst or not?”, as they were in search of water, and they grumbled against Moses saying,
“Why did you ever make us leave Egypt? Was it just to have us die here of thirst with our children and our livestock?”
Moses have to cry out begging God for answers on how to manage the people. Yahweh God answered Moses,
“Go over there in front of the people, along with some of the elders of Israel, holding in your hand, as you go, the staff with which you struck the river. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb. Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it for the people to drink.”
Truly in these trying times, the best and most important thing to do is to pray, have faith, and be hopeful. As in the times of Moses and the Samaritan woman, we are now reminded again to have no fear in our hearts. In the Second Reading (Rom. 5: 1-2, 5-8) St. Paul affirms this promise,
“And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For Christ, while we were still helpless,
died at the appointed time for the ungodly.”
As we begin this third week of Lent, while it is sad that we won’t be able to do our usual Lenten routines because of safety and health restrictions, let us spend more time in prayer and reflection so that we may be allowed the grace and opportunity of deepening our relationship with the Lord and growing more in intimacy with Him. Let us be consoled with the thought that the Lord has more important missions for us, more powerful than the virus in our midst. For nothing happens that interferes with God’s plan for us.
“If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” (Ps. 95: 8)