On Our Lord’s Meeting with the Samaritan Woman at Jacob’s Well.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
On Our Lord’s Meeting with the Samaritan Woman at Jacob’s Well.
In a smiling valley between Mount Garizim and Hebal Jacob’s well is situated, on which our Lord may now be seen sitting. Wearied with His journey, He is taking a brief rest in the heat of the day. But no, even now He does not rest. His divine soul, kindled with charity towards sinners, glowing more hotly than the rays of the midday sun, thirsts for yet more labor, thirsts for the salvation of a poor, sinful Samaritan woman.
1st. Whilst Jesus is sitting beside the well, His wandering glances rest upon Samaria, the city which in its fatal blindness severed itself from the temple at Jerusalem, the place where God was worshipped in truth. What is our Lord waiting for, what is He expecting? The return of the disciples, who were gone into the city to buy meats? Oh no; He entertains desires of a very different nature; the hunger He experiences is of another order. Fiercely as the midday sun burns, His yearning for the salvation of souls is no less ardent; although His body is exhausted with fatigue, His soul cannot, will not rest until He has found another lost sheep, until He has given it to drink not of the material water out of the well, but of living water, springing up into life everlasting. It is a scene that must awaken emotion in every spectator. The Samaritan, suspecting nothing, draws near to the well, approaches the Stranger, a Jew, who is sitting there; she knows not that He is the Good Shepherd, that He has come to rescue her from eternal perdition. St. Augustine, speaking of the Saviour when He was sitting by the well, weary in body but active in spirit, consumed with zeal for souls, says: “See a hen with a brood of chickens, how worn and thin she is; her wings droop, her feathers are ruffled; her condition is typical of that of our Lord, when tired out by His labors, faint and exhausted, He sat down to rest on Jacob’s well. As the hen, engrossed with concern for the welfare of her little ones, forgets herself, forgets her own needs,, so our Lord thinks not of taking food and drink, but thinks only of the soul that He would save.” Contemplate this Good Shepherd and let the sight of Him rekindle your zeal for souls. There is nothing more pleasing to God than zeal for His glory and for the salvation of souls. St. Chrysostom asserts that no service is more acceptable to Him, and St. Gregory says that the most high God regards zeal for souls with more favor than any oblation we can offer Him. And it is recorded of a saintly monk of the Franciscan Order, who had labored for many long years for the conversion of the Indians, that on his retiring to a monastery in Spain, there to lead a life of strict seclusion, whenever he prayed before the crucifix, he fancied he heard Jesus calling to him in accents of tender, loving reproach, saying: “Why hast thou left Me hanging on the cross and sought for thyself rest and solitude?” What would our Lord say to you, my soul, in regard to this?
2d. Consider with what kindness, charity and condescension our Lord received the Samaritan woman, who was a sinner, a grievous sinner. He strives to attract the wandering sheep to Himself with the voice of kindness, not of stern, that is too stern, rebuke, lest that should only scare it, and frighten it away. In the first point our Lord was set before you as a model of zeal for souls, of that zeal which every Christian ought to possess, and ought to exercise according to his state in life, by exhortation, the cure of souls, or prayer and penance for others. Now you are called upon to study His example and thence learn what the character of that zeal ought to be. “I bear them witness,” says the Apostle, “that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” (Rom. x. 2.) Right zeal is always combined with charity and mercy and preeminently with patient forbearance. How many are zealous preachers of penance, but imitators of Jonas, who was angry because the lightning from heaven did not follow upon his preaching and destroy the city of Ninive! How many are rigorous denouncers of evil, keen champions of justice, of the law of God, of the Rule of their Order, but all the while the spirit that animates them is the same as that which led the apostles to ask: “Lord, wilt Thou that we command fire to come down from Heaven and consume them?” (St. Luke ix. 54.) St. Augustine aptly remarks on this subject: “Consider how hotly Moses’ anger was kindled at the sight of the people’s transgression, so that he broke the tables of the law, written with the finger of God, which had been delivered to him with great solemnity after he had fasted forty days and forty nights. But however great his wrath may have been, he immediately returned to God, beseeching Him either to forgive the Israelites that trespass, or if not, to strike him out of the book of life. The zeal that animates the servants of God should be of this nature, causing them on the one hand to be deeply concerned on account of the offence against God, and on the other hand to feel such deep compassion for the sinner that they forthwith interpose on his behalf as mediators with God.” You compassionate those who are mentally afflicted, or dangerously sick, but the sinner is more deserving of pity than they are; remember this, and your zeal for souls will resemble that of our Lord at Jacob’s well, it will be tempered with charity.
3d. Consider that our Lord asks the Samaritan woman to give Him to drink, with the purpose of acquainting her with the spiritual thirst He felt for the salvation of her soul. It is as if He would say: Woman, I have in store for tbee a living water, rich in blessings, but before I can give it thee, thou must give Me water, the water of thy tears, tears of contrition and repentance for thy sins. How often has our Lord in His sacred thirst for souls, required of you that water of compunction without which He cannot forgive you or give you to drink of His living water? How often in the season of meditation, during your spiritual reading, when listening to a sermon, on the occasion of some startling event, has this cry rung in your ears: “Give Me to drink!” (St. John iv. 7.) Quench My thirst for your salvation by following My divine inspirations. Have you obeyed that voice as readily, as promptly as the Samaritan woman did? To-day at least listen to that call, and if your meditation on the first point has inspired you with true zeal for souls, see that you display that zeal in the first place in regard to your own soul. If you are really concerned for its welfare, you will also be concerned for the welfare of others; but he who neglects his own soul, will be of but little use to the souls of others. “For,” as St. Gregory says, “he cannot kindle others who does not burn himself;” and a master of the spiritual life very justly remarks: “A man must be himself inflamed with the love of God in order to inflame the hearts of others with that same love.”
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
– Meditations on the Life, Teaching, and Passion of Jesus Christ
(Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur: New York, December 31, 1900)
PRAYER WHICH ST. GERTRUDE RECITED DAILY.
I salute thee, O Heart of Jesus my Saviour, vivifying and immutable source of joy and eternal life, infinite treasure of divinity, furnace of pure love; thou art my refuge and shelter, Thou art all to me. O loving Heart, fill my heart with the same fervor which inflames Thine. Bestow on me those abundant graces of which Thou art the source. Let my soul be always united to Thine, and let my will be continually subject to Thee. I have but one desire, that is that the rule of my actions, the object of my thoughts and sentiments, be Thine holy and infallible will. Amen.
Jesus, who art meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto thy heart. (300 days indulgence.)
Sweet Heart of Jesus, enkindle me with Thy love. (300 days indulgence.)
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy upon us. (100 days indulgence.)
Be loved everywhere O Sacred Heart of Jesus!(100 days indulgence.)
Copyright © 2013. Holy Cross Publications. All rights reserved.