Written by Steven Liechty
"When I was thirsty, you gave me a drink." - Matthew 25:35
I thought of you today when I got back from my walk, cranky from too much sun and dying for water. You wanted water too when you sat down at noon by Jacob's well.
Along she came with her bucket and gave you a little lip about not having one yourself. The two of you talked theology for a while, trying to clarify the difference between well water and metaphysical water. Then you got down to that business about her life, which didn't change the subject all that much, since life and water are twins.
Your flustered followers came with raised eyebrows. She put her bucket down then—which is a good metaphor for surrender, and even better for change—and went flying off to tell everybody you were the one. This she believed because you knew everything about her and still thought she was worth talking to.
Soon the villagers came to see for themselves. They liked what they saw and begged you to stay, just like those two on the way to Emmaus would do when evening fell on resurrection day.
And it dawned on me, standing at my kitchen sink holding a tall glass under cold running water, that in all that talk and commotion, nowhere does it say that you got the drink you came for. I don't think you ever did.
Which means you are still thirsty. Which means if I go to the well today, I will find you there, still thirsty. Which means if I get my bucket and bring it to wherever you are needing help in the heat of the day, you might finally get that drink. You could get it from me.
Thirsty Jesus, thank you for bestowing worth and living water and the keys to life. But in all the talk and commotion, don't let me forget that you have no bucket and the well is deep, that you came for a drink. That you need it from me.
Mary Luti is Visiting Professor of Christian History and Worship at Andover Newton Theological School, Newton, Massachusetts.