March 15, 2020 – 3rd Sunday of Lent
Click here for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/031520.cfm)
In the Book of Exodus, the people became thirsty while they were in the desert. They became desperate. They began to complain and become bitter of their situation. They also began to blame Moses and God for bringing them out of Egypt. Moses had become desperate too and afraid of what the people might do to him. Moses pleaded with God.
However, despite the ingratitude of the people to God for saving them from slavery in Egypt, the Lord responded generously to them. Striking the rock implied trust in God. The rock is hard and empty of water but out of that emptiness, God brings forth abundance, life and assurance of God’s love. There was flowing water.
In the Gospel, the Samaritan Woman, who experienced deep thirst in her soul, had a dialogue with Jesus. This was something that was forbidden at that time. But then, this was the initiative of Jesus to meet the woman “where she was at that moment.” This tells us that God meets us where we are too.
She had been with different men, and with this, people around her must had been condemning and judging her.
“Give me a drink,” was an invitation of Jesus to allow him to dialogue with her and to know her deepest longing in her heart. Jesus wanted her to allow God to feel her thirst for love and acceptance. The woman was indeed thirsty for such love and acceptance.
This encounter with Jesus allowed her to look deeper into her life, into her many experiences of thirst for love, for acceptance, for true friendship, for true and lasting intimacy with people whom she loved and loved her.
Her dialogue with Jesus turned her bitterness, desperation and sadness into hope and joy. At the end, the words of Jesus, “Give me a drink,” have become her words too, she said, “Give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty again or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
Such statement is very deep. This does not only mean to water itself, but to the deepest thirst and longing of the woman. What she was asking was freedom from her sadness, desperation, and bitterness from those negative/traumatic experiences in her life that have made her to constantly seek from what was only temporary.
Hence, she realized and found that “Living Water” in Jesus, in a person, in God who showed true compassion to her, lasting friendship with her and acceptance of her painful and sinful life.
This is the invitation for us also on this 3rd Sunday of Lent. Jesus invites us to dialogue with him, because it is in dialoguing with God, is expressing our heart to God and listening to God’s that we begin to dig deeper into our own well, to recognize the dryness and thirst that we experience in life. However, this will also allow us to discover the abundance of God’s love and forgiveness for us.
When we begin to recognize and own fears and failures, sinfulness and weaknesses that we also ask God to fill us, to love us, to forgive us and to give us life.
We are not called to bury ourselves in fear and anxiety when difficulties come in our life, or to turn towards bitterness and complaints when our struggles become confusing and overwhelming. Like Moses and the Samaritan Woman, let us turn towards God who shall direct US to that Living Water, to life itself, to our life’s contentment and joy with God.
As an exercise for this week, I invite you to find time at least 10 to 15 minutes every day, spend those moments in silence. You do not have to say your memorized prayers, but just stay in silence and be comfortable with that. Allow yourself to confront yourself and to dialogue, in expressing to God what is in your heart and in listening to what God would like to tell you. Ok lang? Sana all.
Jom Baring, CSsR