3rd Sunday of Lent: Spiritual Thirst, Jn 4:5-42

03-12-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Bing Colasito

The people of Israel have come a long way after their exodus from Egypt. They wandered in the desert of Sinai, and at Horeb, they complained and blamed Moses, reminiscing their better days in Egypt. The Israelites were like the Samaritan woman in the Gospel; they found themselves in great difficulty and discouragement. Their physical thirst is an expression of a deeper thirst, spiritual. Exteriorly they seemed to follow the Lord’s leading, but interiorly, their hearts drifted away from Him, even dreaming of a better situation in Egypt. They murmured: Does the Lord want us to die here of thirst? Is He in our midst or not? Moses knows that Yahweh is in their midst; it’s the people who are not with God; because their hearts are away from Him. Moses implores God to intervene. Yahweh reveals His presence by giving them the miraculous water flowing from the rock.

We are all longing for something or someone to satisfy our spiritual thirst. The good news, Jesus longs for our spiritual conversion; with the Samaritan woman, He shows that He comes to meet us where we are and give us spiritual refreshment - to satisfy the hunger and quench the thirst of the spirit. Our Lord comes for sinners and the spiritually thirsty, for the lowly or humble heart. Like the woman, we might also be taken aback by the Lord’s presence in us. We may have many questions for Jesus - it does not offend Him. He is eager to engage in a conversation with us. All we need is to be open, listen to Jesus, and be honest and humble about our sins. As Peter correctly confesses: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God – He is the Messiah for whom every soul thirsts.

An essential part of the journey to conversion is the gentle but firm confrontation with sin. Experience tells us that we cannot progress in our spiritual life; if we keep compromising with sins. We have to address their roots by putting a stomp on them. It is embarrassing to confront the truths of our shameful patterns and habits (sin), but the Lord knows that the TRUTH is what sets us free. Jesus shines the light of His truth even at the darkest spots of our life to free us from the clutches of sin. Let our hearts be humble and contrite to receive the living water of His mercy. Let us not be too proud to learn something new and not too ashamed of our sins - so God can fill us with a whole new source of spiritual life.

When Jesus encountered the woman at the well, their initial conversation dwelt only on the thirst for natural water. Eventually, the woman realized that Jesus was talking about spiritual water, living water. Whoever drinks the water Jesus gives will no longer thirst; it will become the wellspring of living water for eternal life. The world thinks pleasure and achievements are all we need to live a happy and fulfilling life. Jesus reminds us that there is more to life than what the senses can access. The season of Lent reminds us of the good of self-denial, curbing our desire for earthly pleasures and focusing instead on the spiritual, which leads to happiness and satisfaction.

Jesus calls us to be TRUE WORSHIPERS, worship in spirit and truth. True worship is inclusive, not exclusive. Worship in spirit is worship that goes beyond WORDS; it is worship with a HEART.