Each week of Lent, we’ll provide an Ignatian prayer for you, inspired by a video from Arts & Faith: Lent. The video and prayer for the Third Week of Lent, Cycle A, are based on John 4:5-42.
“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.’”
As you begin this time of quiet prayer, I invite you to find a comfortable place to sit with your back straight and your legs planted on the ground. Allow yourself to notice your breathing as you continue to breathe normally. Take a few moments to breathe in and breathe out.
Spend this time centering yourself to listen to what God may be saying to you during this time of prayer and to listen to what rises up in your heart. You may want to close your eyes for a few moments. As you sit with your eyes closed, use these or similar words: “Here I am, Lord. Here I am.” When you are ready, open your eyes and pray.
It’s a hot and dusty day. The air is still. You are walking up the path towards the well to gather water, just as you have done a thousand times before. You are weary. Your legs feel so heavy as you put one foot in front of the other. You feel as if you are carrying a heavy load that you can barely lift. The jug you are carrying is empty but feels so heavy. You keep your eyes on the ground, because you don’t want to talk with anyone. You say to yourself, I’m so tired. I just want to be alone.
As you approach the well, you look up and see a man sitting on the outside ledge. You want to turn away, to go back home and come back later when no one will be around. But you stay. You’re too tired to make this trip again. Maybe he won’t speak to me, you think. As you get closer, he looks at you and smiles. He looks familiar. He looks like this Jesus you’ve heard about, but it can’t be. He wouldn’t be here by himself. Where are his followers? Why is he alone? It’s like he knew you were coming when no one else would be here. It’s like he’s waiting for you.
He greets you and says, “Good afternoon. It’s a hot day. Would you give me a drink of water?” You are shocked and annoyed. Why is he speaking to me? He is not supposed to. It’s against our laws. I just want to be alone. How do you respond to Jesus? What do you say to him?
Jesus steps towards you. He looks at you with sharp, clear eyes that seem to know you. He seems to be looking right into your heart. He gently smiles and says, “You seem so burdened. What is weighing you down? What are you carrying that is too heavy to hold?” What do you say to Jesus?
You know that if someone else comes to the well and sees you talking with him it would be dangerous for you. You want to walk away, but you can’t. His eyes and his smile keep you there. You want to tell Jesus what is so heavy on your heart. Your eyes fill with tears. He looks at you with such kindness and understanding. He says to you, “Give me your burden. Give me your heavy heart. Let me carry this for you.” How do you respond to Jesus?
Is there a burden you are carrying that you want to give to Jesus?
What is heavy on your heart this Lent that you want Jesus to carry for you?
Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Read a transcript of today’s video here. The art is an Orthodox icon of St. Photini.