After the Samaritan woman talked with Jesus at the well, her life changed dramatically. From then on, I bet she kept an eye out for him whenever she went to get water. I can even imagine them having more conversations that weren’t recorded in scripture.
In the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius of Loyola encourages us to return to our encounters with God and pray again with what emerged. We can welcome God to deepen these experiences and give us living water.
With this in mind, I return to the well of encounter and pray again with my dream. It is the day after Ash Wednesday and this prompts me to ask God for more self-awareness, particularly around my attachments.
There they are in my dream. Becoming stressed by not having a handle on a situation, tells me how much I need control. Doubting my character when I am rejected by others, reveals my need for approval. Being undone by the man who saw everything as meaningless, triggered my need to for significance.
I know a bit about how attachments work. Our false self spurs them into action whenever they are threatened and makes us feel good whenever they are appeased. Attending to our attachments seems natural and legitimate. So naming these devils, as the Spirit helped me do when reflecting on my dream, unmasks them.
I line up the three culprits in front of me: control, approval, significance. I look them over carefully, so I can recognize them the next time they kick up a fuss or stroke my ego.
I sit in silence and ask the Holy Spirit to pray in me. As I do, the unholy three loosen their grip on me. God is here with all I need to quench my thirsty soul.
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” –John 4:10 (NRSV)
Questions for your Lenten journey:
- When did you last encounter God? What happened? Return to that experience in prayer with Jesus.
- What makes you angry or stressed? Take a moment with Jesus and look under that feeling. What are you attached to that Jesus would like to free you from?