1.Ex 17: 3-7
Gospel: John4:5-42

               "  It is our nature to be thirsty or hungry."

Dear brothers and sisters, the theme of our readings today is thirsty and the quenching of thirst by drinking water. The first reading recalls that moment in which the Israelites were crying out for water while they were leaving Egypt. They complained to Moses as if he was going to kill them, their children and their livestock. Moses was in dilemma, but Yahweh instructed him to strike to rock in Horeb with his  staff, and the water would flow. And it did.

In the gospel, we heard the encounter and conversation of Jesus with a woman from Samaria. Jesus was exhausted due to a long walk under the sun's heat and he asked for water from a woman whom she should not talk because she was a Samaritan. During their conversation we realize that  the woman and Jesus were not on the same plane of thought. While the woman thought of water at the well( physical water), Jesus talked about living water, so he was on a spiritual plane. However, the things had become clearer as the conversation went on. In fact, the woman rightly surmised that Jesus is the Christ that the Samaritans also expected. Let us take some of the points of their discussions and let us reflect on them.

First, Jesus says to the woman, " Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again." Yes, most of us think that material things would quench our thirst, but it does not. The quenching is simply temporary, and after a while, we will be thirsty again. In affluent countries, we would notice that people are fond of buying things even if they do not need them. As a result, their houses become disordered, and a wide garbage. If we concentrate on material things, we will never be quenched from our thirst.

Second, Jesus continues to say, " Whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." so, the water that Jesus gives is the saving love of God poured into our hearts which gives us life and peace. Jesus gives us the living water of salvation. This ultimately quenches our thirst. The woman being a Samaritan felt being abandoned by those who called themselves pure Jews, thus the woman was hungry for love, and had run through quite a few partners looking for a real thing. Jesus' soul-piercing glance tells her that he is the  love she has been looking for.  She abandoned her water jar and returns to city to tell everyone about Jesus. We can put this question that did that woman wait  till had a master degree in theology? 

Did she sit down with people and demonstrate from scripture why he was the Messiah? the answer is No. She simply told people, with joy, confidence, and conviction, what Jesus had done for her. And she invited people to come and experience him for themselves. That is how a large portion of that heretical town came to believe. And that is how a large portion of the Roman empire came to believe. There were no crusades in stadiums, no TV preachers. Christians simply listened to neighbors and co-workers with respect and love, asked questions to find out their needs, and told how Jesus had met similar needs in their lives. Thus an invitation was issued to come and check it out.  One of the our Lenten resolutions ought to get over our fear of sharing the good news, to be aware of the spiritual needs of those around us.

The living water of salvation is no less than Christ. This can be illustrated by the famous words of St. Augustine who said, " My heart, O God, is restless until it rests unto Thee. Before his conversion, Augustine was known to be a sinful person, a person full of vices. These may have quenched his thirst for things, but he felt it was simply temporary. Thus, his heart became restless. But the restlessness disappeared as he found God in his life.

Third, related to the feeling of thirst is hunger. The disciples of Jesus were looking for food. And when they came back, they offered food to the hungry Jesus. The response of Jesus was, "  I have food to eat which you do not know" which lead to a confusion among his disciples. He further said, " My food is to do the will of God, he suggests that he cannot live without obedience to the will of the Father. This is also something which we should reflect. Obedience or following God and his laws should also be our food that enriches us.

Lastly, when the woman proclaimed the good news and her encounter with Jesus, the Samaritan also came to meet him. Afterward, they told the Samaritan woman, " We no longer believed because of your word, for we have heard for ourselves, we know that this is truly savior of the world". In our journey of faith, we tend to rely on the testimonies of others, which may be valid. But it is also expected that we ourselves should have our own or personal encounter with Christ. Two words are used here:  hear and know. It is good that we have also heard for ourselves the God whom we believe, through reading the Bible, and we have known our God through constant prayers and reflections. While we grow older, we must also grow in our knowledge of Christ.

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Chapisha Maoni