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Back The Third Sunday of Lent
Thursday, March 12, 2020
From the Desk of Fr. Ron…….
Whenever I travel on the African continent, the first thing I insist upon before arriving at where I would rest from the travel, would be to purchase bottles of water. The last thing I need is to become ill upon my arrival by drinking the local water to satisfy my human need and to quench my thirst.
This weekend’s first reading from the Book of Exodus provides for us a scene where the chosen people, just free from slavery in Egypt, just safely escaping from the clutches of the “regretting their decision,” Egyptians who were in hot pursuit to have them return to Egypt in their employ, find themselves with little provisions in the heat of the desert sun. In their thirst, they begin to complain to Moses. Moses carries their complaint to God who directs Moses, what to do. Moses faithfully carries out God’s directives and water begins to flow from the rock to satisfy the chosen people’s immediate and momentary thirst.
In the Gospel, Jesus is traveling back to Galilee from the towns of Judah and arrives at a Samaritan town; siting down at a well to rest in the heat of the noonday sun. The disciples leave Him to secure provisions. Jesus then encounters a Samaritan woman, who comes also in the heat of the noonday sun to draw water. Flocks would customarily be watered by their shepherds earlier in the day and so the time of day and heat of the noonday sun would make anyone thirst. Jesus shares His need and His thirst. The whole scene breaks usual customs and traditions: the time of day, the dialog of Jesus with a woman let alone a Samaritan, Jesus not having any utensils to attain some water indicating that He would drink from her utensils. The thirst that Jesus has isn’t physical, for the disciples have left to secure the provisions needed. Jesus thirsts for the woman’s faith; Jesus thirsts for the faith of the Samaritans themselves. Thus, begins a revelatory dialogue between the woman and Jesus where the goal becomes a matter of “living water.” This dialogue helps the woman Jesus encounters to move from obvious limitations, “you have no bucket,” to desire, “give me this living water,” to admission of sin, “I have no husband,” to growing awareness of faith, “I can see you are a prophet,” to questions of true belief, “true worshipers will worship in spirit and in truth.” “I know that the Messiah is coming (she proclaims) the one called the Anointed; when he comes, he will tell us everything. Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking with you” (John 4:25-26). This revelation sends the woman away forgetting her physical need for water. She gathers the townsfolk together and proclaims: “He told me everything I have done” (John 4:39). This awakens in them a thirst of curiosity, that brings the town to Jesus and prevails Jesus to remain with them for two days of encounter, preaching and teaching. This visit fulfills their thirst for the Anointed One of God and they speak to their woman messenger, “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.” (John 4:42)
This beautiful story of Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well bears an invitation to each one of us. For years we have heard about Jesus from our parents, aunt’s,
uncles, from teachers, priests and others. Have you had your own conversation with Him? Have you admitted what you truly thirst for? Have you met Him, He who reveals to you all that you have done? Have you invited Him into your heart and into your life?
This Holy Season of Lent provides multiple opportunities for this encounter. Listen to the voice of your deepest longings.