Jesus broke the conventions of his society by asking the Samaritan woman to give him a drink. His opening move was to treat her as an equal and to admit that he needed her help. By revealing his own thirst he awakened her thirst for the living water that only he could offer. By showing that he knew and understood her life story and still accepted her, he enabled her to accept herself and to realise where her true happiness lay. By simple human warmth he helped her, an outcast from her community, to become the messenger of good news to others. The others came first because they were amazed at how she had changed and curious about the man who had brought about this change, but when they met Jesus for themselves, they too were transformed. Their faith, prompted by hearsay, was now founded on first-hand experience. As we move through Lent, we can discover afresh that Jesus loves us, accepts us, and needs our help to break down barriers of fear and mistrust between people. If we take the time to sit by the well with Jesus, admitting our thirst and our weakness, we too will find the spring of living water welling up within us and flowing out to a thirsty world.
Stop Press: Welcome to Archbishop Malcolm
Just over a year after Archbishop Patrick’s resignation was accepted by Pope Benedict, Pope Francis has appointed his successor. Born in London, Malcolm McMahon studied Mechanical Engineering in Manchester and worked for London Transport before joining the Dominican order. He was ordained priest in 1982, serving as chaplain to Leicester Polytechnic and as a parish priest in London and in Newcastle upon Tyne. He was elected Prior of the English Dominicans in 1992 and again in 1996 and became Bishop of Nottingham in 2000. He chairs the Bishops’ Conference Department for Education and Formation. Archbishop Malcolm brings a wide experience of life and ministry to his new role and he can be assured of a warm welcome among us.