Trica Tembreull

Where Have You Been?

Every once in a while I hear a song that uploads a sort of scripture play list in my brain instantly connecting a song to scripture. This happened recently when I heard a Rihanna song. I know what you're thinking: what Rihanna song could possibly conjure up a scripture verse? For me, every time I hear Where Have You Been I picture the story of the woman at the well in John's Gospel (John 4:4-30).

Think about it, the Samaritan woman in the Gospel has had 5 husbands, one current live in boyfriend and has been forced to fetch water the middle of the day to avoid harassing crowds. Consider her a modern day celebrity caught up in scandal. Annoyed to find someone at the well, especially a man, she encounters Christ who asks her for a drink of water and then offers to quench her thirst: body, mind and soul.

Listen to the lyrics of Rihanna's song and maybe you can hear the voice of the woman at the well too:

I’ve been everywhere’Ìâ‰âÂÌâå¬

Looking for someone’Ìâ‰âÂÌâå¬

Someone who can please me’Ìâ‰âÂÌâå¬

Love me all night long’Ìâ‰âÂÌâå¬

I’ve been everywhere’Ìâ‰âÂÌâå¬

Looking for you babe’Ìâ‰âÂÌâå¬

Searching for you babe . . .

Where have you been . . . all my life?

After a lifetime of empty relationships, the Samaritan woman finally encounters Christ who doesn't want to take anything from her. Instead he wants to give her forgiveness and healing, and he wants to fill her with 'living water' (John 4:10) so she will 'never thirst' again (John 4:14).

"I've been right here, waiting for you."

“I’ve been right here, waiting for you.”

We, like the Samaritan woman, continually ask God, 'Where have you been?' or 'Where were you?' when relationships or life don't go the way we planned.

The thing is God never asks us, 'Where have you been' because He knows where we've been. He knows the websites, the parties, the rooms we have entered, and the bottles we have opened to satisfy our thirst. He knows the relationships we have been in and the lines we have crossed emotionally, physically, and sexually. And yet, He sits at the wall of the well waiting for us to discover Him and accept His mercy and love.

God is sitting in the confessional, in the person of Christ, through your parish priest, waiting to give us the same healing and living water as the Samaritan woman. Although He knows exactly where we have been and what we have done, He wants us to seek Him at the well, draw up the water, and confess the sins that have caused division in our union with Him. Only then can He forgive us. Only then will we realize that it's God that we are looking and searching for in the people and things of this world but only He can satisfy our thirst.

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Trica Tembreull

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