BECAUSE YESTERDAY was a Sunday of Lent, today we celebrate the Annunciation of Our Lord. The fate of the world hinged around the choice of a teenage peasant girl, Mary.
Mary was greeted by the Archangel Gabriel: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”
This public domain image, Nazaret Verkuendigungsbasilika (Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth) by Berthold Werner, (source) was taken in 2008 and shows a modern altar built at the grotto where Mary lived.
An old tradition states that Mary was planning on drawing water from a well when she was greeted by Gabriel. Here is the well in Nazareth, from a photograph taken in about 1910. Courtesy of the Oregon State University Special Collection and Archives (source). The well served as Nazareth’s source of water for thousands of years.
Sacred scripture and tradition is rich with symbolism; grottoes are often seen as places of refuge and contemplation, places of refreshing coolness, while springs are a symbol of God’s sustaining action and grace. In the dry, parched, arid Middle East, life would not be possible without the cool water found in wells, fountains, and springs, and we will certainly die spiritually without God’s grace.