The challenge to open our hearts to Jesus
3nd Sunday of Lent, Year A (John 4:5-42)
March 19, 2017
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
WATER is an indispensable commodity in life. When it is scarce or lacking altogether, the desert advances with its deadly mantle of arid sand and barrenness . . . . In desert areas, people dig deep wells in search of water, or walk for miles to fetch a jar of the precious liquid. A simple glass of water makes a thirsty man experience moments of sheer bliss.
There is in each of us a deeper thirst which no amount of material water can quench. It is the thirst for acceptance, appreciation, life, love . . . a thirst for God, the wellspring of life and happiness. And there is in God a thirst for us, human beings, an eagerness to give Himself to us, fully and forever. It was this divine urge in Him which made God a weary wanderer roaming the parched paths of this planet to lead all humans to Him, the Source of living water.
On a torrid Palestinian noon, this thirsty God engaged in a lively dialog with a thirsty Samaritan woman. He quickly went to the heart of the matter. The water of the well of Jacob had been only a pretext, a “jumping board” that was soon forgotten, and the lady and the entire Samaritan villagers drank avidly at the font of God’s Word dispensed abundantly by the itinerant Rabbi. At the root of it all was Jesus’ self-revelation as the awaited Messiah. The desert of their lives bloomed with faith in Jesus, “the Savior of the world” (Jn 4:42). And from that day on, their lives were different.
The Samaritans invited Jesus to stay with them, and he did stay there two days. (See v. 40.) That was a sign of mutual appreciation, acceptance and respect. Those were days of blessings for the Samaritans who began to experience in advance the refreshing presence of the Spirit in their hearts. They were days of peace and satisfaction for Jesus, who frequently experienced rejection.
We are even more fortunate than those Samaritans. Most of us have quenched our thirst at the fountain of the Spirit since our babyhood. Yet, sometimes, we have repeated the mistake committed by the Israelites who forgot God, the source of living water and dug for themselves broken cisterns. (See Jer 2:13.)
Today our “thirsty God” sits by the dried up wells of our lives and asks for a drink. It is a “provocation” meant to make us realize our spiritual dryness. It is a reminder that He alone can quench the thirst of our heart. From Him, the fountain of our salvation, we will draw water. And in Him, the fountainhead of our life, we shall rejoice! (See Is 12:3.)