It is hard to allow ourselves to be vulnerable,
even in the embrace of God.
In the Book of Exodus, the Israelites grumble in the desert: Why did you ever make us leave Egypt? they ask God. Was it just to have us die here of thirst? In their vulnerability, they can’t imagine that God will take care of them; they need water and see none around them, and so they are ready to wash their hands of God (so to speak), to forget the God who delivered them out of Egypt. Their hearts are hardened, not vulnerable; they reject vulnerability in order to grumble all the louder. But as Psalm 95 reminds us, If today we hear God’s voice, we must not harden our hearts – our hearts were meant to be receptive, vulnerable to the God who made us, open to his blessings.
The Samaritan woman in John’s Gospel is not hard-hearted like the Israelites. Although she is wary of meeting Jesus – a single man alone at the well – she is open to his offer of water, living water, water that is life-giving in ways the Israelites before her could not possibly have dreamed of. She is herself vulnerable, outcast by her peers because of her irregular relations with men, but Jesus reassures her that what she truly needs flows directly from God, thus offering her the connection, the spiritual intimacy, she lacks in human relations. Jesus is her access to God, if only she will let herself be vulnerable and allow him in. This is the access by faith of which Paul speaks in his Letter to the Romans: the love of God that has been poured out into our hearts. Like water from a rock, it is a miracle, the gift of God; like the living water of Christ, God’s love will ensure that we never thirst… if only we accept his love, and accept to love him from a place of vulnerability, ever trusting that hope does not disappoint.
This post is based on Fr. Pat’s Scripture class.
Image source: Wordle