3rd Sunday of Lent, Year A, – 17
Exo.17:3-7 / Rom.5:1-2, 5-8 / Jn.4:5-42
Did you ever feel like saying or hear someone say, “There must be something more to life.” Whenever we feel like saying or hear someone say, “There must be something more to life” it shows we need more of Jesus in our lives.
Having Jesus in the center of our lives makes our whole life better. Every day is better with Jesus in the center. When we have Jesus where he belongs our whole life just falls into place.
A father wanted to read a magazine but was being bothered by his little girl. She wanted to know what the United States looked like. Finally, he tore a sheet out of his new magazine on which was printed the map of the country.
Tearing it into small pieces, he gave it to her and said, “Go into the other room and see if you can put this together. This will show you our whole country today.” After a few minutes, she returned and handed him the map, correctly fitted and taped together.
The father was surprised and asked how she had finished so quickly. “Oh,” she said, “on the other side of the paper is a picture of Jesus. When I got all of Jesus back where He belonged, then our country just came together.”
Yes, when we allow Jesus where he belongs our whole life just falls into place. This season of Lent is a gift from Jesus to get Jesus back where he belongs in our lives and to allow everything in our lives fall into place as it should.
The Prefaces for Daily Masses during Lent – the prayers after the “Holy, Holy, Holy…” – express beautifully this aim and goal during Lent:
Each year you give us this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heat renewed. (Preface of Lent 1)
This great season of grace is your gift to your family to renew us in spirit. (Preface of Lent 2)
Through our observance of Lent, you correct our faults and raise our minds to you, you help us grow in holiness… (Preface of Lent 4)
So, at the end of Lent we want to have our mind and heat renewed, to be renewed us in spirit, to have our faults corrected, our minds raised to God and to have grown in holiness.
At the end of Lent, we want to have the picture of Jesus put back together again properly in our lives because Jesus is the “something more to life” that we are looking for.
This is precisely what happened to the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well. This thirst of Jesus is symbolic; it was for her faith that Jesus thirsted. So, during the conversation Jesus gradually helped the gift of faith to grow in her heart.
We see the woman’s faith growing by the way she addresses Jesus; the titles she gives to Jesus show more and more respect and faith as their conversation progresses.
Firstly, she says, “you, a Jew” (Jn.4:9). Then she calls Jesus, “Sir” (Jn.4:11, 15). Then she calls Jesus a prophet. (Jn.4:19) Finally she refers to Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah (Jn.4:29)
All the Samaritans of that town call Jesus the Savior of the world after the two days he spent with them. (Jn.4:42) Jesus awoke faith in her heart. The Preface for today’s Mass says,
“When he asked the woman of Samaria for water to drink Christ had already prepared for her the gift of faith. In his thirst to receive her faith He awakened in her heart the fire of your love.
Let us just go through the Gospel. The conversation began with Jesus asking her for a drink. We hear of two thirsty persons – Jesus and the Samaritan woman.
They are not desperately thirsty but water was their topic of conversation. Jesus was thirsty enough to ask the Samaritan woman for a drink, though Jews do not associate with Samaritans; the gospel makes it a point mention it.
Furthermore, it was a Jewish man and a Samaritan woman! But thirst can make people discard formalities and reservations. Jesus was tired and thirsty and He wanted a drink.
The Samaritan woman was also thirsty and that was why she came to the well to draw water, although it was at an odd time – it was at noon, a time when people would stay indoors because of the heat (and that tells us something about her).
But as their conversation went on, more and more was revealed. The Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well to quench her physical thirst. But there was another kind of thirst that she could not quench.
She could not quench her thirst for true love – she told Jesus she had no husband. But she already had five husbands and the one she has is not her husband. Jesus knew her secrets, but He was gentle in revealing it to her.
He revealed it to her with love and compassion. But He also knew that she had a thirst that wasn’t quenched and that’s why she had secrets that she wanted to hide. Her thirst made her act strangely – she tried to avoid people and she tried to hide her secrets from Jesus.
But Jesus, who is the living water, slowly quenched the thirst in her heart, and with that she did the really astounding thing.
She hurried back to the town, to the people that she had been avoiding, and to tell them to come and see the man who had told her everything she ever did! Her spiritual thirst had made her hide her secrets from people.
But Jesus gave her the living water and the courage to face the truth. Yes, the thirst of the heart can make us irrational and act strangely. In our spiritual thirst, we will even turn to dead waters.
But that will be like trying to quench our thirst with sea water; the thirst will come back with a vengeance. We turn to dead waters when we give in to our desires – our desire for attention and status.
Our desire for success and to prove that we are better than others and to show-off. Our desire for pleasure by indulging in pornography and engaging in immoral acts with others. Yes, we try to quench the thirst of our hearts with dead waters.
But Jesus knows all that we have done. He wants to cleanse us with His living water in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Jesus wants to quench the thirst of our hearts with the living waters of true love, which only He can give.
Let us turn away from those dead waters that will create more dark secrets and make us hide from God and from others. Let us turn to Jesus who gives us the living waters of truth and love, so that our hearts will be at peace with God and with others. Amen.