Sunday, February 24, 2008

Who asks for a drink

"Listen now and learn who it is that asks for a drink.

"'Jesus answered (the Samaritan woman) and said:
"If you knew the gift of God,
and who it is that is saying to you,
'Give me a drink',
perhaps you might have asked him
and he would have given you living water."'

"He asks for a drink, and he promises a drink. He is in need, as one hoping to receive, yet he is rich, as one about to satisfy the thirst of others.

"He says: 'If you knew the gift of God.'

"The gift of God is the Holy Spirit.

"But he is still using veiled language as he speaks to the woman and gradually enters into her heart.

"Or is he already teaching her? What could be more gentle and kind than the encouragement he gives?

"'If you knew
the gift of God,
and who it is
that is saying to you,
"Give me a drink",
you might ask
and he would give you
living water.'

"What is this water that he will give
if not the water spoken of in Scripture: With you is the fountain of life?

"How can those feel thirst who will drink deeply from the abundance in your house?

"He was promising the Holy Spirit in satisfying abundance. She did not yet understand. In her failure to grasp his meaning, what was her reply?

"'The woman says to him:
"Master, give me this drink,
so that I may feel no thirst
or come here to draw water."'

"Her need forced her to this labour, her weakness shrank from it.

"If only she could hear those words:

"'Come to me,
all who labour and are burdened,
and I will refresh you.'"

From a treatise on John by Saint Augustine, bishop.

Included in today's Office of the Readings.