Reflection for the Third Sunday in Lent Year A 2023
The Israelites had reason enough to be concerned. They were on an arid country and had run out of water. The situation looked hopeless, and they began complaining. After all, they were not really asking for luxuries of life, they were in need of the most basic element needed to sustain human life in a hot, dry climate. No wonder that they wished they were back in Egypt where they at least had their basic needs supplied. What good was their freedom from the chains of slavery if the result was an agonizing death for them and their children? It is easy enough to trust the Lord’s providing goodness – when you are not dying of thirst.
The Israelites in the desert had begun a time of training and preparation so that they could really become God’s people. They had to have an opportunity to be confronted with their own helplessness so they could experience God’s goodness. Such moments are rarely comfortable – they bring with them suffering. But it is a suffering that leads to blessing, strengthened faith, and new awareness of God’s presence. This is certainly just as much true for us as it was for Israelites in the desert wandering.
Jesus used just such a moment of human need to speak to the Samaritan woman. She had come to the well of Jacob to draw water because of her need. And Jesus asked her for a drink because he, too, experience thirst. But, as Jesus so often did, he used the occasion to turn the woman’s thoughts to deeper and spiritual things, ” everyone who drinks this water we be thirsty.” Jesus was willing to offer the Samaritan woman water that would be eternally refreshing. And even more : Jesus stated that ” the water I give shall become a fountain within ” each individual, ” leaping up to provide eternal life “.
Jesus revealed himself as the Messiah. A discussion about thirst and the need for water brought about a meeting of people needing eternal life with the Giver of eternal life. They listened to Jesus and professed their faith in Him :” we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this really is the Savior of the world.”
During Lent we are called to confront our own. Often so very human, needs, and weaknesses. This confrontation is not meant to shame us and discourage us because of our lack of perfection. Every moment of human need is a moment in which God speaks to us and calls us to trust in his loving generosity. It is not our perfection that is needed to please God, but rather our willingness to face our imperfection and to ask for forgiveness. Repentance means leaving our pride and experiencing God’s goodness in spite of our unworthiness.
Saint Paul states this spiritual truth clearly and unmistakable: ” it is precisely in this that God proves his love for us:,that while we were still sinners , Christ died for us.”
God bless you all
Your brother in Christ