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Third Sunday of Lent

February 27, 2005

Blessed Sunday!

Exodus 17:3-7 (water from the rock)
Psalm 95: 1-2, 6-9 “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts”
Romans 5:1-2, 5-8 (Jesus died for us when we were His enemies)
+John 4:5-42 (the Samaritan woman at the well)

God gives living water to those who don’t deserve it. Every reading today points to this message. First we read of God giving His complaining people water from the rock in the desert. Moses even named the place “Massah and Meribah”, “test and quarreling”, because the people had been so unruly. Then we read of Jesus’ gift of grace–a gift He purchased for us by dying on the cross while we were still His enemies. Finally we read of Jesus’ offer of living water to the Samaritan woman who’d had five husbands and was currently living in adultery. Her sin made her God’s enemy. In addition, as a Samaritan she was an enemy to the Jewish people (Samaritans were semi-pagan half-breeds who were despised by the Jews and who despised the Jews in turn). Certainly no other self-respecting Jewish man would have asked her for water. That’s why Jesus’ request made such an impact on her. As she continued to engage Him in conversation, He drew her out, helped her to recognize her sin and gave her hope for a new life. In a sense, she participated in the Sacrament of Confession with Jesus directly. She was so excited about it that she forgot about her water jar. She had better water now, living water, and she splashed it all over town. Her fellow Samaritans, impressed by her testimony, came out to Jesus to hear Him for themselves and a great harvest of souls was won for the Kingdom. When Jesus’ disciples urged Him to eat the food they’d just bought, He wasn’t interested. He hungered for the Father’s will, which was the salvation of souls, and the Samaritan woman’s eager responsiveness to Him had filled Him full.

We need to trust God to provide what we need even when we don’t deserve it. We need to become receptive to the gifts He has for us and make use of them in His service.

In addition, we are called to imitate Christ. We are called to do good even to those who don’t deserve it, to those we despise and to those who despise us. We are called to sacrifice ourselves in order to provide living water for their souls. Nothing else will ultimately fulfill us, will satisfy the hunger in our souls.

May we place no barriers to God’s superabundant generosity in our lives and in the lives of those we encounter.

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