How should we carry the weight and worry that come with life?

Jesus and Woman at the Well. (Credit: Angelica Kauffman, 17-18 c./ Wikimedia)

You have a bucket, don’t you? One that you lug around most everywhere, most every waking moment. Sometimes, it even keeps you from sleep. What’s in the bucket? The weight and worry that come with your life.

There are loved ones in there. Why won’t the Good Lord answer your prayers for them? There are changes you’d like to see in yourself. You’ve tried, but nothing has worked. There are fears you already face and there is the gnawing worry about what may come your way. The bucket grows heavier, but you can no more set it down than you can stop living.

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You’ve got a bucket. And you are the one who comes to the well. Granted, the Gospel is about a woman who brings her bucket to draw water from the well. You only want to empty yours, to pour out the slop. But the heavy bucket and the lugging is the same.

It’s at the well, schlepping your bucket, that you meet Jesus. That is, after all, the point of the story. That you encounter Jesus. The Gospel isn’t recording history; the Gospel addresses you. That is why we call it “Good News.” Today, as you lug your bucket, your very real bucket, Jesus says to you: “Give me a drink” (Jn 4:7).

Like the Samaritan woman, you’re focused upon your bucket. Who wouldn’t be? The call of Christ can appear as one more demand upon your time and energy, one more reason to regret how poorly you respond to life.

The call of Christ can appear as one more demand upon your time and energy.

Yet today, you must hear Jesus say: “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water” (Jn 4: 9).

Then you must decide what to do. If you give yourself over to prayer, everything will change. No, the bucket doesn’t disappear. It doesn’t drain itself. It’s just that, like the Samaritan woman, you don’t know how thirsty you have been until you begin to drink. If you open yourself in prayer to the person of Jesus, you will find the strength you need. It will make all the difference.

So, what does it mean to open yourself to Jesus? To surrender your bucket, to drink deeply of him and to be satisfied? Hard to say. You’re the one with that bucket.

Readings: Exodus 17: 3-7 Romans 5: 1-2, 5-8 John 4: 6-42

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