Third Sunday of Lent

March 15, 2022 | By Bishop Roy E. Campbell, Jr.

The water that I shall give you will become a spring of eternal life.

We have a number of Catechumen, now the Elect, entering the Church and Candidates receiving full communion in the Church at the Easter Vigil, so my reflections are from the Third Sunday in Lent, Cycle A.

In the first reading from Exodus, the Israelites thirsted for water to drink.  However, their thirst showed their lack of trust in God.  He had led them out of the captivity of slavery in Egypt and parted the Red Sea for them.  Yet, their thirst led them to “put God to the test”, that is what the word Massah means in Hebrew.  Meribah is Hebrew for “quarreling”, which is what the Israelites did with God, because they constantly wanted assurance that He was with them and would take care of them.

The Israelites tested God because they were wallowing in self-pity.  They were hurting and angry with God.  They did not have true “faith and trust” in God.  The Israelites had “faith and trust” in God only when He worked a wonder for them.  However, when that wonder faded from memory, so did their “faith and trust” in God.  The Israelites’ “insatiable thirst” for another sign from God, was the result of feeling sorry for themselves, and living in their own self-pity.

In the Gospel, the Samaritan woman came alone at midday to Jacob’s well to draw water, because she was rejected by the other women, probably because of her lifestyle.  She too was living in self-pity.  Jesus saw in her, a woman who had an “insatiable thirst.”  He saw a woman who thirsted for love, who had five husbands and currently had another lover.  Jesus offered this woman “living water,” and the Samaritan woman went from self-pity and rejection and thirst to “faith and trust” and “filled-up” in Jesus, in His grace and in His gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Samaritan woman’s thirst for “living water” led her to the source of “living water,” Jesus Christ.  It is the same “insatiable thirst” that has led our Elect, Candidates, and children to seek full reception, full initiation into the Church, the Body of Christ.  These Elect and Candidates are seeking the waters of eternal life through Baptism, Confirmation and especially the Eucharist.

So, how does our “insatiable thirst” lead the rest of us to trust and believe in Jesus’ gift of “living water” and eternal life through the Holy Spirit during this Lenten Season?  It leads us to make our “daily trip to the well.”  We need to come to the same well from which the Samaritan woman left as a disciple of Jesus.  We need to come to the well of prayer.  When we pray, we draw from the well of Jesus’ grace, wisdom, and love, refreshing and nourishing our souls, strengthening us for the fasting necessary for discipleship, so that we can give others our witness to the “living waters of eternal life” through His Gospel of Salvation.

– Bp. Roy Campbell

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