There’s a woman in my parish, you may have noticed her. She comes in through the back and sits with her head down. Her eyes are closed and her hands are open toward the sky. She doesn’t look you in the eye but there is always the slight twinge of a smile pulling at the sides of her mouth. She is not dressed in her Sunday best, in fact, she looks as if she has walked for miles and miles to be here. But yet she is here—week after week, she is here.
When her eyes are not downcast she looks directly at the Cross. She looks as though she has weathered many storms. There is pain in the lines on her face, there are stories of hurt in her eyes. Her hair is windblown. But yet she is here—week after week, she is here.
She blends in to the crowd, she asks for no recognition. In fact, you may not have noticed her there at all. But yet she is here—week after week, she is here.
No one knows why she returns. In fact, no one cares to know much about her at all. And she likes it that way, for if they did, she fears, they might not let her back in. But yet she is here—week after week, she is here.
But if we were to listen to the stories she had to tell, if we were to care, we would surely see God’s divine hand woven like strings of gold throughout her life. If you were to tell her that, she would simply cast her head down again, or maybe look toward the Cross, the slight twinge of a smile pulling at the sides of her mouth. She would shake her head, thinking of her many wanderings, her many mistakes. But yet she is here—week after week, she is here.
Surely she does not know Jesus, one would say. Just look at her haggard appearance. She doesn’t even mouth the prayers, just sits with her eyes closed and head down. Surely, she cannot know Him. But yet she is here—week after week, she is here.
Little do they know, she is close to His very heart. And He smiles on her in her efforts. And when she falls—which she does often—He is there to help her up. He calls her to Himself. She is far from perfect, but that is not what He wants. He does not turn her away. He offers her Living Water and she drinks.
You don’t know her, you don’t see her. But yet she is here—week after week, she is here.
And when she leaves she tells others of her experience. “He told me everything I ever did” (John 4:39). “And still he calls me to Him, and still He loves me.”
They say to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world” (John 4:42).
The woman at the well is in my parish. She is here—week after week, she is here.