THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT, YEAR A
12th March 2023
Exodus 17:3-7; Romans 5:1-2,5-8; John 4:5-42
When Jesus promised to give the Samaritan woman the living water, he meant a water different from the water from Jacob’s well. The living water is something too precious that can only come from God. According to Jesus: ‘Whoever drinks this water will get thirsty again; but anyone who drinks the water that I shall give will never be thirsty again: the water that I shall give will turn into a spring inside him, welling up to eternal life.’ He revealed himself to the woman because the living water is his body and blood. He said to her: ‘I who am speaking to you, I am he.’ At this moment the woman was filled with the Holy Spirit and she hurried to invite the whole town to Jesus. The people of the town confessed: ‘Now we no longer believe because of what you told us; we have heard him ourselves and we know that he really is the saviour of the world.’
The reason why often we received the living water without effects in our lives and those around us is the manner in which we received it. The first reading depicts a typical modern day attitude to prayer. Tormented by thirst, the people complained against Moses. ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt?’ they said. ‘Was it so that I should die of thirst, my children too, and my cattle?’ Modern technology has put us on a fast track and we want everything ‘here and now’. We yell and shout at fast-food attendants for not being fast enough! We want to receive the body and blood of Jesus without preparation. The living water will not well up in us when we don’t submit as the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well did. Eager to find the truth, she listened attentively to what Jesus had to say. Grumbling breeds ‘here and now’ attitude while submission give room to patient ‘wait and see’ disposition.
The living water can only work its miracle in us when we submit to God. Submission here is opposed to the political understanding of the word. It is the patient waiting on the Lord. It is allowing God to play his role in our lives. The living water is a gift from God that is worth waiting for. It will gradually transformation us from the inside out.
Fr Anthony Ekpunobi, CM.