THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT
READ: JOHN 4:5-15, 19B-26, 39A, 40-42
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. "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 who is speaking with you." Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him. 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."
Today's Gospel is just as much a story about us as it is a story about the woman at the well. How? The Catechism says this about our reading today: "'If you knew the gift of God!' The wonder of prayer is revealed beside the well where we come seeking water: there, Christ comes to meet every human being. It is he who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts; his asking arises from the depths of God's desire for us. Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God's thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him" (CCC 2560).
As Jesus hung on the cross, right before his final breath, he reiterated this as he uttered these words, "I thirst" (John 19:28). In that moment, he was speaking about more than just a thirst for drink. He thirsts for us. He thirsts for you. This daily prayer we've been doing for Lent is much less about us pursuing God and more about us remembering that God is pursuing us. That He is incessantly seeking us. That He thirsts for us--even in our wandering, even in our sinfulness, even when it feels like He is distant. He thirsts for us. Do you believe that? Do you believe that the God of the universe desires you, that He is yearning for a deeper relationship with you? Spend time today allowing that to sink in. Recognize your dignity. Recognize His extravagant and personal love.
Why is it significant that God first seeks us?
Have you ever thought about God in this way? As Him thirsting for you?
What reaction does that invoke in you?
Do you thirst for God?
R. 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. 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. 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.
How will you allow this reality of Jesus' thirst for you to sink in?
Want to go deeper?
Read this meditation from St. Teresa of Calcutta about Jesus' thirst for you.
Better yet, find a quiet spot and listen to this video. Let Jesus speak these words to you. Click black box to listen.