“Wearied by his journey…”
For those who heard the Gospel of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman today:
“Jesus, wearied by his journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.” Now begin the mysteries. For it is not without a purpose that Jesus is weary; not without a purpose that the strength of God is weary; not without a purpose that he is weary, by whom the weary are refreshed; not without a purpose is he weary by whose absence we are wearied, by whose presence we are strengthened…. It was for you that Jesus was wearied by his journey. We find Jesus to be strength, and we find Jesus to be weak: we find a strong and a weak Jesus: strong, because “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God: the same was in the beginning with God.” Would you see how this Son of God is strong? “All things were made by him, and without him was nothing made”: and without labor, too, were they made. Then what can be stronger than he, by whom all things were made without labor? Would you know him weak? “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” The strength of Christ created you, the weakness of Christ created you anew. The strength of Christ caused what was not to be: the weakness of Christ caused what was, not to perish. he fashioned us by his strength, he sought us by his weakness.
7. Weak, then, he nourishes the weak, as a hen her chickens; for he compared himself to a hen. “How often,” he says to Jerusalem, “would I have gathered your children under my wings, as a hen her chickens; but you would not!” (Mt 23:37) You see, brothers and sisters, how a hen becomes weak with her chickens. No other bird, when it is a mother, is recognized at once to be one. We see all kinds of sparrows building their nests before our eyes; we see swallows, storks, doves, every day building their nests; but we don’t know them to be parents, except when we see them on their nests. But the hen is so weakened over her brood, that even if her chicks are not following her, even if you don’t see her young, you still know her at once to be a mother. With her wings drooping, her feathers ruffled, her voice hoarse, in all her limbs she becomes so sunken and abject, that, as I have said, even though you don’t see her young, you still perceive her to be a mother.
This is how Jesus was weak, wearied by his journey. His journey is the flesh assumed for us. For how can he, who is present everywhere, have a journey, he who is absent nowhere? Where does he go, from where? He could come to us only by assuming the form of visible flesh? Therefore, as he deigned to come to us in such a way that he appeared in the form of a servant by the flesh he assumed, that same assumption of flesh is his journey. Wearied by his journey, then, what is this but that he was wearied in the flesh? Jesus was weak in the flesh: but don’t you become weak. Be strong in his weakness: “God’s weakness is stronger than men.”(Augustine, Tr. 15 on John, 6-7).
An even briefer commentary on the verse are lines in the Dies Irae:
“Recordare, Iesu pie, quod sum causa tuae viae”–Remember, kindly Jesus, that I am the reason for your journey.
“Quaerens me sedisti lassus”: Wearied by your search for me, you sat down.