Third Sunday of Lent

The meeting with the Lord

Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her “Give me a drink”. His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans).  Jesus answered and said to her “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you ‘Give me a drink’ … Jesus answered and said to her “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirsty …The woman said to him “I know that the Messiah is coming”… Jesus said to her “I am he, the one who is speaking with you”…The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people.  Jn 4,5-28

For Matthew it was the bench of taxes, for Peter it was the beach of the sea of Galilee, for the samaritan woman it was the well of Shechem, for me it was the room of the orphanage of the sisters of Locri in Calabria. There is a place for all of us where the Lord passes by and calls. It was by November 1972, we were young. We applied for adoption to the juvenile court of Milan and to its chairman, Dr. D’Orsi, a signal arrived that a child of Locri in Calabria had to be adopted before Christmas. Such haste was due to the fact that on  Christmas of the previous year, while the other children returned for some days to the family, she remained alone in the institute, always crying. We got a call, we talked about it and we left. The mather was happy, but I was not at all, because I did not concur with that adoption so much. I agreed to sign the demand only to comply with her wishes, but  internally I always hoped that this practice would have been somehow stopped, as it often happens. On the contrary this was not halted, it spun around smoothly and so I left by train with the mother who was eight months pregnant waiting for Gianfilippo. The next morning I was already in the hall of the institute, but I was not prepared at all for that meeting, as the samaritan woman was not when she went to the well. “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you ‘Give me a drink’”. No one has spoken these words in that room, but it was as if they were pending in the air. The sisters and the mother were happily smiling, Maria Carmela smiled to me with great eyes and I felt still, like the samaritan woman blocked with the jug in her hand. In those dark moments, which seemed endless, I was blazed by a flash of truth. In Maria Carmela I percieved a different presence and I mentally said “Lord, I welcome this little girl like I would welcome you”. I took her hand,  the mother took the other and we brought her home. Even today, when in remembrance I relive that moment, I know that via that child the Lord was waiting for me. It was just me and her in that room; everyone else was gone. That day my life changed: another story began. Today, when I meet the samaritan woman in the gospel, I understand what it means: “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you ‘Give me a drink‘”.

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