Saturday, March 16 – John 4:1-26
In the Coptic Orthodox tradition, St. Bishoy (320-417) had two encounters with the living Christ. Once, when on a pilgrimage, Bishoy discovered an old man lying on the side of the road. He picked up and carried the old man, but his load began to lighten. Eventually Bishoy realized that he was carrying the Lord. Jesus disappeared after promising to keep Bishoy’s body from decaying. (It is still entombed today.) Later, as Bishoy washed the feet of visitors, he was amazed when he realized he was washing the scarred feet of Jesus.
Copts today still recognize Bishoy as a pure and holy Saint. The desert that surrounds St. Bishoy’s monastery, in northern Egypt, is bone dry, but life still exists there. And now, as you read John 4, you can well imagine Jesus and Bishoy having some great conversations in the desert. Hospitality and love for neighbor extend fully when we find ourselves in inhospitable places.
To the woman at Samaria, Jesus gave a gift that goes beyond a simple drink of water in the desert. He gave her the assurance of life now and hereafter. As we venture through our own journeys in the often inhospitable world, let us exercise the ability and opportunities we are given to share with others this loving, living water of Jesus Christ.
Bonus – Psalm 42
Anyone who has spent time in the desert learns, very quickly, how precious water is to every living thing. Without water one’s mouth dries up, one’s skin withers, one’s internal organs begin to shut down. Without water one’s physical body fades away and dies. So it is with our spirit’s need for God. Without our Lord, our lives are naught but a restless yearning, a thirst that is never abated. But when we discover Jesus our souls drink deeply, and we are refreshed and renewed in the life-giving water offered to us by our loving Creator, the Source of All Being. The Psalmist understands this truth and begins his song by declaring his great need for the Holy Other. But just as our faith can wax and wane through the joys and tribulations of this life’s journey, so, too, is the Psalmist’s faith challenged. He feels anxiety and depression come upon him, and he wonders why. Why has he forgotten how much the Lord has done for him? Why do we?
By the end of the Psalm, the writer has remembered that only the Lord can keep us sane and safe in this world. Only God can quench every thirst and fulfill every need. By God’s grace we also will recall to our minds and our hearts this astounding truth as we experience the ups and downs of our own journeys. This day, thirstily partake of the peace, the joy, and the love given to you by our great God. Meditate on the unending blessings given to you by the Lover of your soul. Remember, drink deeply, and be renewed!