Praying with Scripture: The Woman at the Well – Healing 2023


Fr. Jeronimo’s talk explores the story of the woman at the well, highlighting how Jesus initiates dialogue with us despite our vulnerabilities, much like He did with her. The talk emphasizes the themes of shame, mercy, and surrender, encouraging listeners to open their hearts to Jesus’ transformative presence and healing.

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Reflective Study Guide Questions

“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 4:10

1. Fr. Jeronimo points out that Jesus very specifically sought out the woman at the well, and He reaches out to us in a similar way to initiate a dialogue with us. How can you work on opening yourself up more fully to this dialogue Jesus is trying to begin with you?

2. The woman at the well was alone at the well in the heat of the day because she was hiding herself from others in shame. We often have this tendency to hide ourselves when we feel shame. How can you work on letting Jesus into your heart, rather than hiding from Him, when you feel shame?

3. Despite the woman at the well’s sinful life, Jesus looks on her with mercy. We can imagine Him approaching us in a similar way. How can you focus on His mercy and tenderness towards you in such situations?

4. In order to heal us, Jesus has to open our wounds and come into them. We often have our own ideas about how to fix our problems, but we need to allow Him to take over. How can you work on yielding your own ideas about how to fix your problems, so that Jesus can heal you?

Text: The Woman at the Well

Divine Reading

Friends, welcome to this talk, where we are going to pray with Lectio Divina, using the passage of the woman of the world. But before we dive, let me say something about Lectio Divina. Lectio Divina can be very challenging starting with the Latin word, which means divine reading. It is an ancient tradition in our church to go deep into the water with God with the word of God to learn and to be with Him. 

Maybe some of you are new or don’t even know It exists, until you are hearing this with me, or for some you have done it before or maybe it’s quite often. And today I want to share a simple way of doing it while walking through some key points of scripture passage that I have selected for us. Okay, friends, we are about to start. So you may hit pause in this moment. Bring your Bible if you don’t have it in front of you. And also maybe pen, paper and when you have it open, open it into John, the gospel of John chapter 4:4-42. So let us also ask the Holy Spirit to accompany us.

Come Holy Spirit

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. Come Holy Spirit, come. Come and feel the hearts and the minds of your faithful and inflame them with the fire of your divine love. Come and assist us during this time with you. Come and give us your knowledge and your wisdom. We want to hear your voice. We want to give you our hearts. Come Holy Spirit, come and dwell in us. Come and assist us during this time of prayer. Amen. The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

Seven Steps do Lectio Divina

And friends. Okay, just one last thing before we start. I would like to share with you a brief way of doing the Lectio Divina, I hope it works for you. If you have already a method, do not worry just keep you using your method. But I wanted to share with you this simple seven steps that I think it will help you. So the first thing, is read the whole passage do it slowly and pay attention to names, places, verbs, situations, right? And the second thing is that I want you to wait for a couple minutes. And what you’re doing there is what is your letting the word of God sink in, right? Like water in a plant. Number three is that you try to look for one word that caught your attention. Just pick one word and and try and write it down. At this moment, do not think about why it caught your attention. That’s later. Just write it down.

And number four, it’s just read again, right? And again, wait two minutes, slowly and pay attention to the things. Number five is not that I would like you to choose what not a word but a phrase. It doesn’t have to be connected to the previous award you have selected. Just pick one phrase and again do not think about why it caught your attention. Just write it down. Number six is read again and let it sink with a couple of minutes. And finally ask Jesus and write down why you chose the word and the phrase, is there a connection? Why is resonated in your heart? What do you think God is inviting you to do? What is God inviting me to learn? Right? I think those seven steps, they will help you. Okay? 

And now after this short example well you have two choices. One, you try to do this exercise before you keep listening to this video. Or after we finish this talk you can use different passage, scripture whatever you choose, I recommend you that you read before this whole gospel, John 4:4-42 So you are formalized with the details. Okay? Just do you want to put pause and it’s fine. 

John 4:4-42

Let’s dive in. So the fourth gospel shows us that Jesus was on His way from Judea to Galilee and had to pass through Samaria. The reality is that in Jesus time, it was not common for Jews to pass through these territory, right? Why? Because they’re sworn enemies. One thing is better than the other, right? I feel that I’m better the Jewish and these people. So the Jewish people always choose another path to go up. Therefore, we can affirm without fear that Jesus sought this meeting with a Samaritan woman. 

He could have taken any other direction, but He did not. Jesus is the one who seeks meeting with the woman and then He’s there. He’s the one who initiates the dialogue. He’s the first to speak, friends. How often do we feel that God has forsaken us? That He’s far away, today we can hear, see and feel that God is seeking us. He’s the one reaching out to us once again and He will continue to do so in our lives. And this is amazing. This is something we shouldn’t pass by while reading. At the same time, it was not well seen that a Jewish man was alone with a Samaritan woman. That’s even worse, right? And again, a woman alone in the well, well the well was where women’s group went to draw water. And this always happened in the afternoon. Why? Because of the heat. So in the afternoon the heat is lower. So there’s no chance a woman will be up there alone at noon, and this is extraordinary. If we stop here friends and we pay attention we must ask ourselves why is she alone? Right, at that time of the day she most likely would be hiding from someone. 

Recall the same attitude from Adam and Eve right, when the fall that they were hiding, how often we have hidden ourselves from the Lord, and even our friends. How many times during confessions during sacrament of reconciliation we have freely chosen to withhold the sins out of shame, facing our brokenness. We tend to shut down and hate ourselves, right? This is common. But then we see in scripture later we hear Jesus that He starts a conversation by asking her to give Him something to drink. Jesus begins this saving conversation from a sensitive and concrete reality, a need for dialogue. Otherwise maybe she wouldn’t be open to talk and to respond to Jesus later questions that were like kind of tough, right?

Do you see how He’s approaching us with such carefulness and tenderness not to harm but to open a channel of communication with you and with me. When a dialogue has already been established and trust has been generated He can continue with them and go in depth, right? And questions in other aspects of life. Later on we see that Jesus answers the Samaritan woman saying “If you knew the gift of God and who is that is saying to you, give me a drink.” Right? This gift spoken here is not just any gift. The Samaritan woman does not know it yet. But as soon as the conversation gets interesting Jesus ask another questions, right? That in tells that he wants to go deeper, right? He asked about, They’re talking about what the husband she answers that she doesn’t have one. Now we know why she was hiding, right? The five husband meaning her pasts, right? That makes her go to the well alone at the time of the day, like a castaway. She doesn’t want to be seen by anyone. When Jesus shows her, shows her her wounds, her sin He does it with so much tenderness that you see how she feels so loved seen and cherished, that He says in Him a true prophet. 

Maybe this is one of the first times she doesn’t feel condemned by someone or perhaps she doesn’t remember when was the last time She was treated with love, but what she experienced is to be looked upon with mercy. I hope you can imagine yourself sitting at the same well, right? At the same time And being seen and approached by Jesus, our Lord and Savior. When we face our brokenness apart from shame or guilt, sometimes we feel most of the time we feel attacked by others, right? Like the other coming to poke, right? It makes us feel what even worse which is why we react in many unhealthy ways when we talk about the same things in our life. But in this case, I want you to imagine that it’s just coming to you, to your wound, right? Your five husbands, whatever they are in your life not just for the sake of shaming you, but to heal you. If He opens that wound, if He cuts that open, if you don’t do that if you don’t let Him, it can’t be healed. We don’t assume as person as people human being, He cannot redeem. 

That is a fact, in this dialogue. Jesus who knows everyone’s heart, knows very well that the woman who still does not know it, is yearning for something that she needs it. And that’s why she will receive it, and yearning. That’s why she had five husbands, right? This is why she enters into a dialogue. And what Jesus offers her is true life, living water. The water she has been yearning for in so many ways many of those ways in very unhealthy habits. When she realize it, he comes to heal and embrace her. She yields and opens her heart to Jesus. Are you paying attention to how Jesus is trying to do the same with you and with me? When you and I pray and spend time with Him alone when no one else is with us. Like in the world, are you willing to yield the ways you are trying to control, fix your life and so much more? Initially, she doesn’t understand what Jesus is talking about. When she says, living water, you talking to me? And all those specific situations she thinks about regular water. But Jesus is always talking about the supremacy of the invisible. He Himself, He’s the water we need to drink. The only one who will satisfy our deepest thirst. Then the conversation continues with more topics. But it is a conversation. He wants to have a conversation. He wants to have time with him. So ultimately she leaves everything she has there to share the gospel. 

She’s in a hurry to what? To share the gift of what? Of living water with others. And a woman who was afraid to be seen by people suddenly is free from looking over her shoulders and shares Jesus with the people. Maybe the same people who belittle her, right? She is a witness of the grace of God, that happens when we are healed. When we share everything to Jesus this water will change our hearts and transform them from living for themselves so that they are a disservice of other. 

A Healing Encounter

Pope Francis says, “The tree does not eat its fruits nor does the river drink its water.” Discovering oneself as a gift of good for others and discovering others as a gift of God for oneself. It’s part of the charming, not the charming of the charm, of the Trinity, right? Acting in us. It’s really important to know and to be aware that we are going to be healed for a reason because He wants us to share that healing with others. And that’s why we see an amazing and beautiful pedagogy of Jesus healing with the woman. He wants to do exactly the same thing with us. He starts with something simple and then He starts asking questions. And then the woman, regardless of how shameful it could be she starts opening her heart to Him. And then she says, “Well he has said everything about my life.” And now she shares that to the people. It could be, friends, a scary moment because there’s a lot of times that we don’t feel that we are seen or loved by no one, even by God. But I want to assure you today that you are seen, then you’re loved. And that’s why you are in this healing retreat. That’s why you are in this talk. 

Friends, I hope you have the opportunity with this passage or with another passage to sit down and to have a prayerful time with Jesus and go deep into your life. It’s going to be scary, Yes, the woman at the well at the beginning could be like this. Like, “No, Jesus, I don’t want you to touch this.” But know that what He wants to do is to heal you. And He’s going to do it with so much love and so much tenderness because we want that. We yearn for that. So friends, I hope you can do this, and I hope it’s been like a moment of discernment and a moment of God trying to tell you that you and I need to share more with Jesus what’s in our hearts, and to let Him go and enter deep into the places that maybe we already know that we’re wounded, but we are scared, okay? God bless you.

About Father Jeronimo Espinosa

Fr. Jeronimo Espinosa Headshot Healing Retreat 2023

Father Jeronimo Espinosa is a Colombian priest. He is in love with Jesus Christ and His Church, and has decided to dedicate his life to serve its people. Before entering the seminary, he studied animal sciences. But after being ordained and getting a master’s degree in youth ministry at the University of Dallas, his passion and calling is to serve and accompany young people on their journey of healing and wholeness.