The Week 25 guide for the Online Retreat in Everyday Life is here.

It’s the story of the woman at the well that struck me this week, that stayed with me during my quiet times and came back to me, again and again. I don’t usually like the contemporary English versions of the Bible, but it’s helpful, throughout this retreat, the way the different language makes me reexamine old familiar Bible passages.

I know the story of the woman at the well. I’ve known it for years. But, this week, I suddenly found myself at the well, facing Jesus. In the scene as I imagine it, I became the woman. We’re not so very different, that Samaritan woman and I. I am often out at the well when I think no one will notice me, when I hope not to get teased or ridiculed or questioned. I am also aware of many of my sins, the ones that are waiting in the wings for me to go to confession and be free, really free.

Jesus looks at me with such love at the well. He speaks softly and gently, but with authority. He knows what he’s talking about, there’s no question about that.

And every time I go through this scene in my head, though the Gospel account doesn’t include it, I know there are tears. In that time and place, the Samaritan woman probably didn’t lay her head on Jesus’ shoulder and sob.

But I do. I lay my head down, for just a brief moment, and I let all that poison out of my system. I cry cleansing tears, right there on Jesus’ shoulder.

The Samaritan woman probably didn’t pause for a hug before running, elated, back to the village, not caring, for once, about the stigma associated with her life. The good news is too great to care any longer about shame. She has been forgiven! She has been released! She has been touched by God!

This week, I’ve needed Jesus’ shoulder. I’ve been stretched and pulled and trampled by my everyday life. Mentally, I’ve felt like I’m at my limit.

And there he was, waiting for me at the well.

Feeling his arms around me, when I finally got around to going to the well, was just what I needed, just what I always need.

Photo of Prince Charming and his Toddlerina (who was then an Infantina) by the fabulous Heather