Water will probably be one of the great issues of this coming century and beyond as we ravage the resources of the earth. There will be a great thirst for water; this is already beginning to happen. We humans are great at denial, which is probably some mechanism of survival as a way of dealing with fear.

The people in the desert are thirsty, and God hears their prayers in the leadership of Moses. We are not so blessed today. In fact most of the 7 billion humans on the planet lack potable water resources and a lack of water for their crops. So far in the US we have been fortunate, and so we are in denial. The first reading story is as much about the water and thirst, now read through the lens of the woman at the well, as it is also about the complaining of the people. Today, we live in a culture of complaint.

ln the second reading, we read about hope. This is exactly what leads to faith in the woman at the well. Why does St. Paul stress that “hope does not dissappoint.” Remember the story of Pandora and the vessel given to her by Zeus as a wedding present for Prometheus? In the vessel, to punish Prometheus, Zeus put all the evils in the world. Pandora’s curiosity got the best of her, and she looked into the sealed vessel, Immediately all the evils ion the world ruched out into the world, except she was able to slam the lid shut and one evil did not escape — hope! The ancient world was suspicious of hope and viewed hope as a dangerous thing. Thus, Paul has to stress just the opposite, because he was changing their world view, and stresses that this hope leads to faith. Then the two together lead us to love, the love of God who sends His Son to die for us. This is the story of the woman at the well in a nutshell.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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