The readings today are centered on Baptism and new life, God’s mercy and goodness. The mention of water in the readings is symbolic, referring to our relationship with God. Water represents God’s Spirit Who comes to us in Baptism. Baptism is the outward, symbolic sign of a deep reality, the coming of God as a Force penetrating every aspect of a person’s life. The Spirit quenches our spiritual thirst. Just as water in the desert was life-giving for the wandering Israelites, the water of a true, loving relationship with Jesus is life-giving for those who accept him as Lord and Savior.
Today’s Gospel reading gives us Jesus’ revelation of Himself as the Source of Living Water. Hence, the passage chosen from the first reading from the Book of Exodus tells of the Jews’ complaining about their thirst, a manifestation of human longing for God and spiritual satisfaction. The rock which Moses strikes represents God who gives the water — His Own life — essential for our spiritual live.
In the second reading, Saint Paul asserts that, as the Savior of mankind, Jesus poured the living water, or the gift of the Holy Spirit, into our hearts. We need the Holy Spirit to sustain us spiritually, just as we need water to sustain us physically. Through Jesus, God gave us the Spirit when we were dying of thirst. Paul realized that he and all the Jews who kept the Law of Moses were trying to become justified on their own. According to Paul, redemption or justification is the gratuitous gift of God manifested in Jesus’ saving death on the cross. By virtue of His death, Jesus has made just, or put right the relationship between God and every sinner who will appropriate His saving gifts by Faith.
The Gospel tells us how Jesus awakened a thirst for wholeness and integrity in the woman at the well. In revealing himself as the Messiah to the Samaritan woman, Jesus speaks to her of the fountain of water he will give — the life-giving waters of Baptism. The water that Jesus promises is closely linked to conversion and the forgiveness of sin. Here is a woman who comes to Faith and becomes a missionary who brings others to Jesus. The Samaritans, who were considered godless in general, in this town end up confessing Jesus as their Savior.
We have been baptized into a community of Faith so that we may become one with each other as brothers and sisters of Jesus and as children of God. This demands that we open ourselves to others and listen to one another. We need to provide a welcome atmosphere where God’s people are loved and not judged. Jesus, by loving the woman at the well, freed her and made her whole, made her realize that she was a child of God. Let us also open our hearts to one another and accept each other as God’s gifts to one another. The readings also challenge us to get rid of our unholy attachments and evil habits that keep us away from God. It is the time to learn from our mistakes that may keep us from coming to the living waters of a right relationship with God.
Lent provides opportunities for us to grow in faith and deepen our relationship with God. We have Confession, Adoration and Benediction on Wednesdays from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm and living Stations of the Cross this Friday at 6:00 pm by the students from Steubenville, followed by Bible study, which will focus on the Sunday readings. The Knights of Columbus fish dinner is also on Friday nights from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
This week, I invite you to pray for the people in your life who have never experienced the love of God, and who are living away from the Church. Pray for each person individually; spend time lifting each one of them up to the Lord.