I was asked recently how I was doing in this third lockdown? My answer wasn’t as optimistic as I have been in the past. Normally I am a glass half full kind of guy, but as of late, that half full glass is looking kind of murky… in essence I am getting tired.
Truthfully, I thought I would get used to serving at Church with just a couple of people and that it would become normal enough to keep me going, but like treading water, and waiting to be rescued, one only becomes more tired rather than used to it. Yet like treading water and waiting to be rescued, the alternative to stopping is dreadful to consider.
It is this dreadful alternative that keeps me and many others going. No amount of frustration, or even rebellion can solve our current Public health orders (let alone everything else), and bring us back to simpler days when we could all be together, not wear masks, or anything else; in fact it would make it even worse. We can look at all kinds of solutions, and alternatives, but in reality it is only the Lord who can bring about a resolution to whatever challenge life might give us; this pandemic included.
It is in this all that the Lord meets us as he meets that Samaritan women. Indeed the Lord greets the Samaritan woman, in need and thirst, asking for her assistance; as she goes to get water herself. Yet it is also the Lord who offers her something more than just water, or something practical. The Lord who is like us in every respect (including being weary and thirsty), offers us, like he does to her, something more, something beyond understanding; hope. It is a hope of clarity and peace, of having our thirst for meaning and purpose in life quenched beyond something tangible and practical (like never having to go and get water, or be free from this pandemic).
In many respects we are like this Samaritan women. As she had to work in the midday heat, we are asked to work in the heat of a pandemic and restrictions; As she was an outcast (a Samaritan) we to are outcasts not being able to gather together at Church as it is deemed “inessential”; as she was a sinner (having many husbands and more), we to are caught up in sin and its effects. Yet as the Lord quenched her thirst, not by giving her something that is finite and corruptible (like water she was seeking) but life itself, manifested by the Holy Spirit, the Lord quenches our thirst. Not by giving us ” miraculous water drawn forth from a barren stone, but a new vintage from the fount of incorruption, springing from the tomb of Christ.” (Ode 3 Paschal Canon).
Although I, like many others, are tired and worn down by the effects of this pandemic and by life itself, the Lord stands with us and offers us something more than a vaccine can provide (although this is very important and encouraged) something more than politics can offer (although this facilitates good order), something more precious than liberty and our freedom (although in this we can live out or proclamation of God’s saving love).
He offers us the empty tomb; ultimately he offers us our empty tomb; as “the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20), and has come that we “may have life, and have it abundantly.” (Jn. 10:10), stretching out His hands to us as we tread water, as He did for Peter sinking in the sea of doubt and fatigue (Mt. 14:30).
May we have the eyes of faith like the blessed Photini, to desire not that which is perishable and tasteless like water or political solutions, or a fully vaccinated population. As I said, those are indeed important, but we will inevitably thirst again in whatever situation we find ourselves in. He offers us something sweeter than anything we could imagine; the “water springing up into everlasting life.” (Jn. 4:14). Glory to God.