Not to pretend to give some kind of homily, but simply to share with you some reflections as we walk through Lent, let’s take a look at this weekend’s readings together.
Do they make us thirsty? I hope so. Believe it or not, I expect they should cause us to feel quite watery, too. Let me explain. We begin with Moses and his people in the desert. They are wandering and wondering. They feel lost, afraid, abandoned. Huh – that sounds like me. They are dying of desire for physical PROOF that God loves them. God gives Moses a way to answer their bodily need for water, but He is (so to speak) sad that they required the proof, disappointed in their lack of trust, angry that they can’t confidently sense the LORD’s presence in their midst. He is with us every moment; He has led us out of slavery. Why do we still complain so much? Because we are often seeking the wrong kind of satisfaction.
The second reading reminds us of God’s desire and ability to fill us up. Though we are weak vessels, our faith in Him (feeble as it may be) gives us access to his grace, to the love of God which “has been poured out into our hearts though the Holy Spirit” (Rom 5:5). Our willingness to receive this grace, this Love, this Person of the Trinity is a sacred thirst – the kind of yearning that prompts me to approach the tabernacle and beg, repeatedly: “Fill me up and pour me out, LORD.” It’s a powerful prayer.
Then, we come to the beautiful gospel. In it, Jesus is waiting to meet each one of us, by name, at Jacob’s well – in a town called Sychar – which means drunkenness. Oh, yes. That’s significant. He wants us to come to Him, and He wants us to completely surrender to His love. To be drunk on Him, and vice versa. “Give me a drink,” He invites us in John 4:7. Come. Be My love. Slake My unquenchable desire for you – and allow Me to return the bliss. Jesus knows every detail of our lives. He is closer to us – as the Living Water– than we are to ourselves. He is the One who has seen and known our relentless search for love and dignity (symbolized here by the woman’s five marriages), and our disappointment as each quest has failed. Jesus is the One who, today, is telling us to stop thinking vaguely about some future savior – some God who may or may not show up in the deserts of our lives – and to recognize that He is here. Now. “The one speaking with you” (John 4:26). The one Who –once we have truly encountered and recognized Him – can make us leave our daily woes behind, become radiant, and turn to others with great wonder, inviting them to come and meet Him too.
Parish Catechetical Leader