Lectio Divina - The Woman at the Well

A few weeks ago another one of the seniors here got some guys together who wanted to do Lectio Divina [latin for "divine reading"].  I had no knowledge of what this all entailed, but my strategy so far in seminary has been to sign up for everything, so I put my name down.  I guess I did know it involved reading Scripture, something that I wanted to do more for Lent, so that was also a motivation for joining...  Anyway, as I have found out, Lectio Divina basically involves spending an hour with a short snippet of Scripture.  This seems really intimidating at first - and it certainly isn't easy - but the hour is divided up into four periods, lectio [reading], meditatio [meditating], contemplatio [contemplating], and oratio [praying].  If you're going to do this, definitely read a better introduction, but basically these steps involve: 

  1. Reading the passage slowly, really thinking about each word and phrase, and letting it kind of settle into you.
  2. Meditating on what you have read, allowing Christ to speak to you through what was said, and letting the message move from your mind to your heart, putting yourself in the scene.
  3. Contemplating what God is telling you, where in your life is the message in this passage applying, what does it mean for you?
  4. Praying about the passage, for guidance, in thanksgiving, asking for the grace and strength to change your life.

The three times I have done it have all been really efficacious, not only bringing me to a better understanding of the Scriptures, but also bringing me to a realization of things that I need to work on.  For whatever reason, it always seems to come around when I am really busy, but it's always been worth it.  Now, I could go into how fruitful and beautiful and difficult doing Lectio has been, but I won't.  Instead, I just want to share with you the prayer that I wrote down during the 10 minutes of Oratio on Thursday (something that is a bit more personal than my usual post, I suppose).  Again, our passage was from John 4:7-15 - The Woman at the Well  (this prayer will make a lot more sense if you read the Scripture passage first).

Dear Jesus, Thank You for so generously offering to give me Your living water.  I am sorry that all too often I am like Your disciples, wandering off into the village, looking for something to fill my hunger, when I know that I can only truly be filled by You.  Like the Samaritan woman, I am scared to give You my jar - my life.  I want to keep filling it from the same old well that I keep coming.  I am scared of You being in control of my life, of You seeing the water that I keep filling myself with.  Yet, despite my ignorance and stubbornness, You remain there, now giving me the opportunity to ask to be filled with Your living water, still loving me despite me being a Samaritan, a sinner.  You shouldn't be talking to me, much less offering me anything, yet You love me immensely - more than anybody else - and remain there despite my infidelity and emptiness.  Still though, I often remain stubborn - like the woman - I still don't want to hand over my pitiful jug, and worse, I doubt You, I wonder if You can give me this living water.  The well is deep, my life is complicated, how could You possibly fill it.  But then, like the woman, I realize that you are greater than my ancestors, friends, family, hobbies, desires, and failures.  You can give water that truly fills and truly cleanses.  And there You remain, despite my hesitation, now upping the ante once again, saying that You are willing to give me this water so that I will never thirst again.  I will never, You say, have to come back to these old wells - these old desires that keep me away from you.  Lord, I beg you, give me this water, fill me with Yourself, increase my faith, enliven my hope, en-kindle my love.  Finally, Lord, if it be Your Will, let that pot of mine become a spring, let it not only carry me to eternal life with You, but also well up for others.  Allow me, Your unworthy servant, to bring Your living water to them as well.  Lord, I love You, I entrust myself to You.  Amen.