Conversion Sunday

by Deacon Bill Schneider  |  03/09/2023  |  Forming the Flock

All of us are anxiously waiting, waiting patiently for spring. It has been a long, rather wet, and cold winter! Change is coming—you can just feel it in your bones. The days are starting to get brighter and longer. The sun feels warm on our faces when we are out walking. There is a new season coming, a new time, a promise of something better.

Hope does spring eternal in the human heart. It is a time to know and appreciate God’s care, concern and love for us. That is what the story about the woman at the well is all about. It is a beautiful story. It is about change and conversion, a turning away from the old in order to embrace the new. It is about a fresh awareness of what God is in our daily lives.

There is much we can learn from this story. First of all, it is Jesus who begins this conversation at the well. It is always God who breaks into our daily lives with His invitation of love. It is not that we suddenly decide to change on our own. It is by invitation, and we are called to respond to that invitation. Before the alcoholic or drug addict can mend his ways, he must come to the realization that there is a greater power outside of himself and then he must let that power take charge of his life. All conversion, even the very desire to change, is a gift, freely given. And even more, it is a slow and gradual process; never sudden or overnight. It is the work of the Spirit and it is a work which lasts a lifetime. Saint or sinner, it makes no difference because all of us are called to an ongoing conversion. The woman at the well goes through this process before she recognizes that Jesus is the Messiah. She wonders why this man even speaks to her—a woman and a Samaritan! Then she is curious about Him. This gradual awareness of who Jesus is begins the process of conversion. To know the Lord is to accept His ways, and in knowing His ways, to strive to become a disciple. In other words, changes in my day-to-day behavior are caused by my daily experience of the Lord.

The woman tells us even more about conversion. The woman knew she had sinned, but she also knows now she is forgiven, loved by God and challenged to a whole new way of life. Having experienced Jesus’ healing grace, she goes off to tell others about what has happened to her. She wants to share that experience with the world. We could say that, by her change of attitude, she has become an evangelizer. We are almost at the halfway mark in our journey through Lent, our time of change and conversion. Our daily choices, our faithfulness and all of our dying to selfishness and sin remind us of the good works that God has begun in each of us. He will see that good work brought to its completion.

The Lord will break into our ordinary routines to surprise us when we least expect Him. He loves us, not only in spite of our past failures and sinfulness, but because of our humanness, our weakness and our need for His love.

All we need to do is to sit by the well, be open to God’s invitation to a new life and then become more aware of His love. The rest follows just as spring follows winter. We are to stand before the person of the living God, and let Him be God for us because that is exactly what He wants to be.