“Not for nothing does the Power of God suffer fatigue”

“Wearied by his journey, Jesus sat down beside a well. It was about the sixth hour.” Already divine mysteries begin. Not for nothing is Jesus wearied; not for nothing does the Power of God suffer fatigue. Not for nothing does he who refreshes the weary endure weariness. Not for nothing is he wearied, whose absence makes us weary, whose presence gives us strength.

Jesus is tired, tired out by his journey. He sits down. On the edge of a well he seats himself. It is midday, and he sits there exhausted. All these details have meaning. They are meant to signify something. They capture our attention, persuading us to knock and investigate further. We have Christ’s own exhortation to do so, for he said: “Knock and it will be opened to you.” May he, then, open up the meaning of this text to us as well as to you.

It was for your sake that Jesus was wearied by his journey. In Jesus we encounter divine power together with weakness. He is strong and weak at one and the same time: strong, because “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, present with God from the beginning.” Would you know how strong the Son of God is? “All things were made through him, and apart from him nothing came into being.”

The whole universe was made without effort. Could any greater power exist than the power of one who was able effortlessly to construct the entire universe? 

And would you know him in his weakness? “The Word was made flesh, and lived among us.” The power of Christ created you; the weakness of Christ recreated you. Christ’s power caused what did not exist to come into being; Christ’s weakness saved existing things from destruction. In his might he fashioned us; in his weakness he came in search of us. 

Jesus, then, is weak, tired out after his journey. Now that journey of his, undertaken for our sake, was his incarnation. How could he otherwise journey when he is present everywhere, and absent from nowhere? To what place or from what place could he travel? In only one way could he come to us, and that was by assuming our visible human flesh.

Since then he condescended to come to us in that way, and to appear in the condition of a servant by taking to himself a human nature, that assumption of our nature was his journey.

 The fatigue caused by his journey, therefore, was the weariness Jesus experienced in our human nature. In his human body he was weak, but you must not be weak. You must be strong in his weakness, for “there is more power in divine weakness than in human strength.”

St Augustine of Hippo

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