“Give me a drink.”- “ Give me some of the water that I may never get thirsty and never have to come again to draw water”

Imagine the scene put before us in this Reading. Jesus, who spent his time going from place to place preaching the Gospel, was exhausted and He sat down beside a well to take a rest. The Samaritan woman approached. Jesus could have ignored her, could have refrained from talking to her, but, tired as He was, He reached out to her with love and compassion. He took the initiative in opening up the conversation, and simply said: “I am thirsty.” That was the beginning of the dialogue between them, an encounter that eventually led the woman to plead with Jesus to give her some of the ‘Water of Life’. It was a ‘Chance Encounter’ with Jesus that strengthened the woman’s weak faith and fired her with zeal, and filled her with the spirit to go out and spread the Good News with everyone she met.

I believe in ‘Chance Encounters’ and have had many experiences of the same. I know it takes faith and it takes courage sometimes to open up a conversation with a complete stranger. However, by failing to do so, I may be putting a damper on the invitation of Jesus to “Go and preach the Good News to all you meet”.

As Dominicans, we are all called to ‘Preach’ the Gospel wherever we are and to all whom we meet. Let us not lose the opportunity to take the initiative, to open up a conversation with a complete stranger. We may be surprised what the outcome of our ‘Chance Encounter’ could be, and what a blessing it may be for us and for this stranger.

A few years ago I was walking in O’Connell Street in Dublin. It was late in the evening and I was in a rush to get home. I could hear footsteps behind me and I felt a bit uneasy and hastened my step. I felt fearful when the footsteps gradually caught up with me and I stopped in my tracks, thankful though that the person was a woman. I was very surprised when she recognised me and addressed me as “Sr. Padraigín”. We started to talk, I had no idea at first who she was, but in the middle of the conversation she told me that she had just been released from the hospital in which she had spent nine long months. She told me that what had kept her going all that time was a chance remark I had made many years ago in class, and she repeated it saying “There is always light at the end of the tunnel”. Her belief in that certainty kept her going during those hard months.

So, one never knows when a ‘Chance Encounter’ with someone can bring about many blessings and peace, that is if we have the courage to initiate a conversation, such as Jesus showed us in this Scripture passage, and share our Faith life with those we meet. Let us pray for one another that, during this Lent, we may take the initiative and share our Faith with those we meet. Perhaps our ‘Chance Encounter’ may be a moment of grace and blessing as it was with the Samaritan Woman who encountered Jesus and was enlightened to go and spread the Good News.

O let all who thirst, let them come to the Water
and let all who are hungry, let them come to the Lord”

Sr Padraigín OP