For me, the story of the Woman at the Well (John 4 4-42) is such a profound example of what author Sherry Weddell calls a “God moment” — where we are blessed to “encounter Christ.”
The woman may have come to the well for water, as she did every day, but she would leave with so much more. This day she came around the hour where she knew she would avoid being seen (as she had a past and a reputation) but Jesus was there to meet her. He came to meet her needs.
We come to Mass to “encounter Christ” in Word and sacrament. We come to reconciliation to “encounter Christ” in his mercy. We come to adoration to “encounter Christ” in the powerful silence of our prayer, where if we can spend time “away” from the distractions of life and quiet ourselves we can hear him speak. He knows us like he knew this woman at the well. He knows who we are and what we need. He will come to us if we but knock, seek and ask. He will be there at our well, too.
He wanted a conversion for this “scarred woman.” He wanted her to be made whole, set free and to become one of his disciples. She left the “encounter” and went to “tell the story,” as spoken by Weddell. She became a “witness” to this encounter, and it became her clear calling — she even left the filled jar of water at the well. She left though with so much more: a calling to testify while living “true discipleship.”
Today I was at Mass in Arizona at a full church filled with Catholics and others, a crowd of at least 800 of God’s holy people. It was a nice Mass, nice homily, very nice choir, but in my humble opinion it lacked something.
As the Gospel tells us, Jesus told the woman, “An hour is coming, and indeed is already here, when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; and the Father seeks such worshippers as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him, must worship in spirit and truth.”
Each Mass should be an encounter of the living presence of the living Christ. Like the encounter of the woman at the well, we should be on fire, and willing to leave the eucharistic celebration with an enthusiastic joy — ready and willing to “testify” like the woman who encountered Christ and the power of his love. Intentional discipleship calls us to be his disciple as we enter our churches and the grace of the sacrament empowers us to leave as “intentional disciples” who proclaim the Good News of our salvation.
I was in the fifth pew, and the father and son who sat next to me left immediately after they received Communion. I’m not sure they were off and running on this “telling the Good News” thing. How many others need to have the encounter the woman at the well experienced? How many are open to that type of encounter? He is waiting for us at the well: any hour, any time, and any day.