Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Know the Road

My mother used to say that our family car knew the road between our house and the airport and could probably drive it by itself.  My dad took so many business trips (sometimes 2 or 3 a week) that our poor little car, making so many trips, knew every dip and turn in the road.  When I was sixteen I had to do my shifts of driving to and from the airport.  I am almost sure that the car, all by itself, drifted slightly out of the lane to avoid a pothole.

If the truth be told, machines do not develop habits doing things that are essentially random acts.  It’s the human at the steering wheel that develops the habit.  Even the Samaritan woman, from our Gospel lesson today, who came to draw water and having become so used to being ignored by strange men that it was a real shock for her to hear a man’s voice speaking to her.

It got even more bizarre when the stranger offered her a drink of water.  No doubt she expected, if anything, to hear this stranger demand a drink from her.  She would have obliged, in silence.  But this whole scene was so weird that she completely removed from the habits she had come to expect, spoke back and even argued with the stranger.

Lent, in a very real way is about jarring us out of our habits.  It is about taking us out of the usual, out of the this-is-how-we’ve-always-done-it thinking so that we too can sit with Jesus and say, "Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty…"

The waters of baptism and the bread of communion have unusual properties, which draw us from the typical habits of daily life into a relationship with God, who promises that the thirst for the Spirit and hunger for the divine are satisfied in Christ Jesus.

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