BILINGUAL REFLECTIONS FOR SUNDAY
THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT (A) John 4: 5-42 March 19, 2017
“Lord, you are truly the Savior of the world; give me living water, that I may never thirst again.”
We human beings are always unsatisfied. We have a great longing. A child wants to be a teenager, the adolescent longs to be an adult, many adults wish to be children again, and some elderly desire they could return to their youth over again. Even in a humoristic way we express this desire. This means we are always thirsty. No matter what we are or what we do, it seems like a kind of sinful restlessness afflicts our society. Sometimes some companies do not accept a new young employee because that person does not have enough experience; but other times a candidate with a large experience is rejected because he or she is too qualified or is too old. I remember once reading a diocese advertisement looking for a youth ministry director with at least ten years of experience, but not older than twenty years of age.
The examples we have in our Scripture readings today, longing for water to satisfy their thirst are, the Israelites in the desert when they complained against Moses saying, “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt? Was it just to have us die here of thirst with our children and our livestock?” The Samaritan woman yearns also for water that can satisfy her thirst, looking at first for a physical satisfaction, later on she would look for a spiritual satisfaction that only Jesus can fulfill. She pleads, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
The responsorial psalm 95 retelling the anger of the people in the desert against Moses, and God, says, “Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the desert, where your fathers tempted me,” stresses the names of the two places: “quarreling” and “testing” as the people´s failure to thank God for the freedom from Egypt, and their yearning to go back to the place of slavery, symbol of sin.
In the Gospel, when the Samaritan woman had been confirmed in faith, she moved quickly into the town, and left the water jar behind, a symbol probably of her former faith. At this point the woman becomes a missionary, and went and invited people to come to Jesus. In this action Jesus teaches us that missionaries are not an elite, since every Christian is called to bring the faith to day by day situation.
The thirst for living waters is very significant in our readings for this Third Sunday of Lent. These readings remind us as a Church of the baptism the majority of us received beings still babies, or the baptism our catechumens will receive at the Easter Vigil. The newly baptized will be strong witnesses of a thirsty humanity yearning for the living well which is Jesus.
The sacrament of Baptism is in the center of Lent. Today´s Scripture texts clearly bring to light it: God directs Moses, “Strike the rock and the water will flow from it for the people to drink.” Jesus, the Spirit-giver, tells the Samaritan woman, referring to baptism, “The water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Paul tells us that this baptismal water “has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Thanks to our natural resources most of us have never been thirsty for a long time, like in a deserted place; so it is difficult to imagine what the lack of water means for those who do not have water at all or at least drinkable water at hand. But in terms of spiritual thirst, we are always thirsty. At the Easter Vigil, and on Easter Sunday, in front of the paschal candle that had been plunged into the baptismal font, we will welcome our newly baptized Christians, and together will renew our own baptismal commitment, which is not just the acceptance of some truths, as important as they may be. The commitment is to a person, Christ, our Savior.