Thirst No More ~ Br. Michael Marshall, Novice

First Reading: Exodus 17:3-7

In those days, in their thirst for water,
the people grumbled against Moses,
saying, “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt?
Was it just to have us die here of thirst
with our children and our livestock?”
So Moses cried out to the LORD,
“What shall I do with this people?
a little more and they will stone me!”
The LORD answered Moses,
“Go over there in front of the people,
along with some of the elders of Israel,
holding in your hand, as you go,
the staff with which you struck the river.
I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb.
Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it
for the people to drink.”
This Moses did, in the presence of the elders of Israel.
The place was called Massah and Meribah,
because the Israelites quarreled there
and tested the LORD, saying,
“Is the LORD in our midst or not?”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

  1. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
    Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
    let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
    Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
    let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
    R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
    Come, let us bow down in worship;
    let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
    For he is our God,
    and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
    R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
    Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
    “Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
    as in the day of Massah in the desert,
    Where your fathers tempted me;
    they tested me though they had seen my works.”
    R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Second Reading: Romans 5:1-2, 5-8

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have gained access by faith
to this grace in which we stand,
and we boast in hope of the glory of God.

And hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
For Christ, while we were still helpless,
died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person,
though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die.
But God proves his love for us
in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

Gospel: John 4:5-42

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there.
Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.
It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her,
“Give me a drink.”
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him,
“How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—
Jesus answered and said to her,
“If you knew the gift of God
and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘
you would have asked him
and he would have given you living water.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep;
where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob,
who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself
with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her,
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;
but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst;
the water I shall give will become in him
a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty
or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Jesus said to her,
“Go call your husband and come back.”
The woman answered and said to him,
“I do not have a husband.”
Jesus answered her,
“You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’
For you have had five husbands,
and the one you have now is not your husband.
What you have said is true.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain;
but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus said to her,
“Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand;
we worship what we understand,
because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here,
when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth;
and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him
must worship in Spirit and truth.”
The woman said to him,
“I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ;
when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her,
“I am he, the one speaking with you.”

At that moment his disciples returned,
and were amazed that he was talking with a woman,
but still no one said, “What are you looking for?”
or “Why are you talking with her?”
The woman left her water jar
and went into the town and said to the people,
“Come see a man who told me everything I have done.
Could he possibly be the Christ?”
They went out of the town and came to him.
Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.”
But he said to them,
“I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
So the disciples said to one another,
“Could someone have brought him something to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“My food is to do the will of the one who sent me
and to finish his work.
Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here’?
I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest.
The reaper is already receiving payment
and gathering crops for eternal life,
so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together.
For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows and another reaps.’
I sent you to reap what you have not worked for;
others have done the work,
and you are sharing the fruits of their work.”

Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him
because of the word of the woman who testified,
“He told me everything I have done.”
When the Samaritans came to him,
they invited him to stay with them;
and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word,
and they said to the woman,
“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.”

 

As we have come to the third Sunday in Lent, we are half way through of this journey in the desert.  The desert is not a pleasant place to be because the lack of water and one can die of lack of hydration really fast without water.  I personally have not seen one while traveling through the desert of the Southwest, but I have heard of an oasis existing in deserts – an isolated source of water in the middle of desert.  Travelers who are dying of thirst only pray they come across an oasis.

As we read in the First Reading, we see the Israelites have been led into the desert by Moses.  Their journey through the desert has an end objective of being free of slavery and a journey back home to their own land, which this journey has taken a toll on them.  They begin to lament to Moses as to why they have been led into the desert; extremely concerned that they and their livestock will die of thirst unless they soon find water.  This lamenting is like someone praying they find an oasis.  Moses turns to God seeking help in order to find water, and God provides the life-sustaining water by instructing Moses to strike the rock.  This striking of the rock parallels with a significant event during the Passion; the parallel is the piercing of Jesus’ side during the Passion.  Yet we do not need to get too far ahead of ourselves because we are still in this season of Lent.

In the Gospel, we read the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well seeking water.  This story contains themes on various levels; the issue of there should not be interaction between two different cultures is the most obvious, but I am going to discuss another theme.  The theme I am going to discuss is how the interaction between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well is another parallel to God providing water to the Israelites while out in the desert.

We see in the Gospels Jesus referring to himself as the Bread of Life many times, but we read Jesus referring to himself in a different way in this story from the Gospel of John.  In the dialogue between Jesus and the woman, he refers to himself as the Living Water.  This conversation leads to the belief that Jesus is the Messiah.

Our forty day journey through Lent is not an easy one, but it is a journey in which we eventually come to find the Living Water at Easter, after being in the desert.  God provides us, just as he provided the Israelites if we choose to believe and follow the message of Jesus like the woman and Samaritans did.

We have heard it over and over regarding Lent being a time of preparation and conversion, but it cannot be expressed too many times.  Just because we eventually come to find the Living Water at the end of these forty days does not mean we can turn back to our own ways, but rather we have to take Lent seriously to continue remain changed, or we will continue to remain thirsty.

Father, as we continue our Lenten journey, may we be reminded that this journey is a time to grow and change. It may be a hard journey in the desert, but help us recognize that you gave us Living Water, and that we may always believe in this Living Water to spread the message of Jesus.  This we ask through Christ, Our Lord.  Amen.

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