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Jesus’ Loving Encounter

This semester I get to take a whole class on just one passage from the Gospel: Jesus and the Woman at the Well. The theme of the class is about how this interaction was a perfect example of Jesus revealing who He truly is. Jesus is the merciful God who thirsts that we may believe in Him enough to follow after Him. It is really incredible to look at all the various parts of this Gospel and how much Jesus truly desired even this one woman—going miles and miles out of the way just to meet her, waiting for her, to bring her the “living water,” the Holy Spirit! Jesus loves us too, enough to lay down His life and rise again to bring us life eternal with, the Father, and the Spirit forever!

We too can be in the footsteps of the Samaritan woman—not knowing exactly what we want in life. We can be praying about our vocation, and be unsure of what exactly we want versus what the Lord is calling us to. We can be consoled in the fact that ultimately the Lord wants us to be happy, fulfilled, and to be with Him, loved deeply and personally. He shares this personal love with the woman, breaking cultural barriers and even suffering in the heat of the desert at noon to speak to her! He met her a well; in the Bible wells are places where one finds love. This woman, hurt by having a number of husbands—with man #6 at the time of the Gospel passage—finds Love Incarnate, giving her what she is really longing for. Our vocation is one of love: Jesus calls us to love Him first, and to follow Him in order to love our neighbor—perhaps as his own priest.

The woman is changed by this revelatory encounter with Christ. She begins to believe, she even leaves behind her water pail to run and tell those in town about her meeting with Christ. Her entire perspective has changed for the better. When we meet Christ and begin to spend time with Him in prayer, our faith and love in Him deepens. We grow happier and more capable of taking on whatever crosses our life may endure. One of these crosses can be giving up a particular good for another greater good of following Jesus into the seminary. Jesus comes with the woman to encounter those in her town. Jesus never abandons her and rather strengthens her own call as a newly formed witness of Love. We too are called to be a witness of Jesus Christ in our families, schools, and workplaces. Perhaps the Lord wants us to serve as a witness in a radical way as a priest, never apart from Him but always supported by His never-ending grace. He is there for us to give us the Holy Spirit who dwells within our hearts. He thirsts for us to love Him as He loves us!

Peter Gallagher

Peter Gallagher

3rd Theology
Peter Gallagher attends The Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy.
Peter Gallagher

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