On Evangelization: Even People Like You are Missionary Material

Samaritan womans meets Jesus at the Well, by Annibate Carracci

Annibale Carracci [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

From my Daily Roman Missal this morning, some thoughts on prayer that were just the kick in the pants I needed:

The wonder of prayer is revealed beside the well where we come seeking water: there, Christ comes to meet every human being.  It is he who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts; his asking arises from the depths of God’s desire for us.  Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him. CCC 2560.

I’ve been needing quite a lot of kicking lately where my prayer life is concerned, fortitude having never been by strong suit, so to speak.  Still quite ill, so please keep praying, but I figured out how to use my son’s laptop lying down.  The ergonomics stink, though.  Limiting.  Meanwhile, for you who’ve been told Ite, missa est, here are some thoughts I put together last time we were reading at well. Originally ran here.

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Unlikely Missionaries

Many Samaritans of that town had believed in him on the strength of the woman’s testimony when she said, ‘He told me all I have ever done’, so, when the Samaritans came up to him, they begged him to stay with them. He stayed for two days, and when He spoke to them many more came to believe; and they said to the woman, ‘Now we no longer believe because of what you told us; we have heard him ourselves and we know that he really is the savior of the world.’ John 4:39-42.

 

Jesus arrives at the well in the Samaritan town — tired, thirsty, and in search of a missionary. Take a look at her qualifications:

  1. She is surprised Jesus would even speak to her. (Jn 4:10)
  2. Jesus proposes eternal life, and she thinks, “Indoor plumbing. Hallelujah!” (Jn 4:15)
  3. She’d been married five times – likely a history of repeated divorce and remarriage. (Jn 4:18)
  4. She is currently shacked up with a boyfriend. (Jn 4:18)

She’s not exactly walking off the page of that vocations poster tacked up on your parish bulletin board. But Jesus meets her where she is – spiritually out of sorts, physically work-weary herself. Through a gradual back-and-forth, He draws out of her the makings of a missionary:

  1. She’s waiting for a coming Messiah, and expresses a firm belief that he will certainly come. (Jn 4:25)
  2. Realizing she may indeed be meeting the Christ, she drops everything and calls her neighbors to come see. (Jn 4:28-29)
  3. Her testimony brings others to faith in Christ. (Jn 4:39)
  4. Her neighbors then not only come to see Jesus, they beg Him to stay, learn from Him for two days, and end by acknowledging He is indeed Savior of the world. (Jn 4:40-42).

An entire village of Samaritans – people the Jews didn’t even speak with – were converted to Christ thanks to the missionary work of the woman at the well.

In his two days with the Samaritans, no doubt Jesus broached the same thorny topics that came up among the Jews – divorce and remarriage included. Jesus meets us where we are not to leave us in our sins, but to deliver us from them. Heaven is not full of wretched sinners God has agreed to tolerate for eternity – it is full of former sinners, now made holy, pure, complete.

In the meantime, it’s a little embarrassing. Someone’s got to volunteer for the parish committees, teach the catechism class, pick this week’s hymns, write the message in the bulletin. And whom does Jesus have to call on? Just us. Dopey, clueless, sinful us.

May the Lord find us in the pews even half as ready as the Samaritan woman was that day at the well. Waiting on the Messiah, ready to be shown our errors, ready to do His bidding and bring others to Him.

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About Jennifer Fitz

Jennifer Fitz is the author of Classroom Management for Catechists, and vice president of the Catholic Writers Guild. In addition to her pile of Catholic writing for Patheos, you can find her at CatholicMom.com, New Evangelizers, and Amazing Catechists. When she isn't blogging, teaching, or complaining about something, she likes to play outside.


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