Notes: Pay attention to the “introductory prayer.” We are in the “third week” of our Spiritual Exercises. Ignatius invites us to become aware of the growing hardships Jesus encounters in His own “life pilgrimage.” We also enter into a more “arid” part of our pilgrimage. As we do so, keep in mind the cost and courage of Jesus’ commitment for each of us. Our hearts become sad as we walk with Jesus towards Jerusalem for the last time. In our final conversation we enter into this interior under-standing of Jesus who suffers death on the cross even though innocent. We speak of this sadness with our “friend” Jesus during the colloquy at the end of this prayer, as well as throughout the day.
Grace: I beg the Father to draw me closer to Jesus so that I may hear and understand His challenge, thrill to the adventure He invites, and ardently desire to serve Him and His people, all the while sharing His lot and His suffering.
Reflections: In the gospel, Jesus makes a pilgrimage from Galilee to Jerusalem, where He will celebrate the Last Supper and undergo His passion. He has spent nearly three years in the company of His disciples, yet this final journey together shows that they still do not fully grasp His message. They argue, for example, about who will be greatest in God’s kingdom. Jesus tries once again to help them understand that leadership in God’s kingdom involves service to others. They don’t understand – or perhaps can’t bring themselves to hear and accept – that Jesus’ way involves both suffering and sacrifice. Imagine yourself on this long journey to Jerusalem with Jesus. Bring Him your own questions, and pray that your eyes will be open to see his message more clearly, and that your ears will be ever more open to hear his call. Jesus feels weak and tired along His journey. The disciples go fetch food and water, but He stays outside the village. The sun is high and it is hot in Samaria. In John’s gospel Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman – remember that there was deep enmity between Jews and Samaritans. Jesus meets her at a well as she comes to draw water there. Jesus is very thirsty, so He asks the woman for water. In the ensuing conversation the woman comes to know who Jesus is and accepts Him as the Christ, even as she discovers Him as a tired and thirsty man who needs help! Who am I? Who is Jesus? In encountering Jesus, God helps us to understand ourselves more deeply. In the process, we also come to understand God more deeply. The Ignatian journey passes through “Los Monegros,” Spain’s desert-like region. Walking through this hot, arid, and dusty landscape, one can imagine how vital water became in the reality and imagination of Jesus’ listeners. Without food and water, there is no life. Thus we find one of the most evocative and enduring gospel images: Jesus is the water of eternal life, the wellspring that never runs dry, water always abundant. A true personal encounter with Jesus is transforming. It changed this woman’s life, as it transformed the lives of the many disabled people Jesus met. Meet Jesus yourself at the well as this Samaritan woman did. Who am I – really? And who is Jesus for me? What is Jesus asking of me? And what is my response?
Mark 10:32-45. “If anyone would be the first, he must become last of all and servant of all.”
John 4:6-15. “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water I shall give will never thirst.”
John 6:30-44. I believe that Jesus is living bread and life-giving water. I beg the Father to draw me closer to Jesus so that, eating and drinking with Him, I may have new life.
Final Colloquy: Make a summary of your thoughts during this time of prayer. Speak with Jesus as one friend does with another. Open your heart to Him about what you have discovered within yourself during this pilgrimage. As you are able, invite Jesus to accept you under His banner. Conclude with the “Our Father.”