3rd Sunday of Lent A20
As a result of the Corona Virus all sorts of things have been cancelled, postponed or put on hiatus. Panic buying is in full swing. Do you know what is the most cherished commodity after hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, and toilet paper? It’s bottled water.
Thirst can be deadly. The human body can live longer without food than water. And thirst can do strange things to us. I can remember a time on a bike ride when I didn’t drink enough water and became a little disorientated, weak, and scared until someone saw me and gave a drink. Sometimes medical intervention is needed as many of us have experienced. That’s why thirst is an excellent symbol of our greatest needs and deepest desires.
When Jesus says “Give a drink”, he reveals his Incarnation clearly. He needs water and is dependent on another human being to provide it for him.
We know the story having just heard it and for some of us many times before. Jesus and the woman engage in a spirited conversation. At 1st she is somewhat rude and even amazed (as were his disciples) that he, a Jew, asked her, a woman and a Samaritan, for a drink. Jewish men didn’t talk to women in public, especially alone, or use anything in common with Samaritans lest they become unclean. She had a bucket; he didn’t.
At each turn in the conversation, Jesus goes deeper. Like the rest of the disciples she gradually gets inkling that he more than a Jewish man in need of water. When the conversation stopped after Jesus revealed to her that he is the Messiah, she becomes an apostle to the rest of the town and invites them to see for themselves - evangelization 101.
It’s amazing that Jesus chose her a sinner, married five times and now living with someone; a woman whose testimony wasn’t always respected by society in general; and a Samaritan generally shunned by Jews because they were a mixed race and worshipped the same God as the Jews although at their own Temple.
The woman at the well, Moses, and their people come into our liturgy today to encourage us to consider our own thirst, not only physical but especially spiritual.
What do we thirst for? What do you and I most need? What do we most desire in life?