Well's Bells: Salvation, Healing, Hope
(Posted March 10, 2023)
“In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans.” — Kahlil Gibran, poet
A couple of days ago I had to meet one of my doctors for an appointment at the nearest place he maintains an office. It’s a major cancer treatment facility, and while he’s primarily an oncologist, he also treats people like me for other non-cancerous disorders.
Whenever I go to this facility, there is some period of time when I’m in the waiting room with all of the other patients. Each of them, I realize, is fighting some kind of major battle far greater than my own. Each is being quietly brave while reaching out in hope. An automated grand piano always plays very softly in the corner of the waiting room, filling the empty air with something other than worry.
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A Bell Celebrates a Conquered Challenge
The best sound I heard, however, happened when I was walking out at the end of the appointment. It took me right past the chemotherapy suite. Just at that moment, bells rang out joyfully all over, because at that moment another cancer patient had just completed her last chemo. She reached up and yanked on the rope, over and over. Those clanging bells washed over all of us with a wave of hope and spilled into the waiting room.
That’s when it occurred to me. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the bells around us rang out whenever we defeated the challenges we face quietly in our lives? You know the kind of challenges I mean: The ones we didn’t create ourselves, but which life hands us, just because of who we are.
The Challenge for the Woman at the Well
This Sunday’s Gospel brings us face-to-face with a woman drawing water at the well at noontime. What’s significant about this is that no self-respecting woman would ever go to the well mid-day when she might encounter the men of the village. And no Jewish man would ever speak to a woman in public, especially one he didn’t know. This tells us something about what people in the town thought of people like her.
But the woman chose that particular hour, and there she met a thirsty Jesus asking her for a drink. The fact that he even talked to her – a lowly woman – was a surprise for the first people reading this Gospel.
Well’s Bells: Salvation, Healing and Hope
The challenge for her was first, her gender, and then her reputation. But the thirsty Man at the well was the one who looked into her soul, saw where sin had infected it, and offered her “Living Water” to cleanse it. In other words, salvation, healing and hope.
He rang the bells within her, and she left that day, joyfully proclaiming that she had met the Messiah.
Join us this Sunday to learn how Jesus reached out to the women of his day and continues to touch the souls of all of us -- women and men -- despite all our challenges.