A reflection on the readings for March 12, 2023, the Third Sunday of Lent.
“Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty…”
Jesus was not afraid to break through cultural boundaries in order to bring the healing mercy of God. Since this Samaritan woman was considered “impure” to Jews, Jesus would have been forbidden to interact with her, let alone drink from the same well. Yet, nothing can separate this woman from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39). Jesus stops at nothing to give us his mercy.
Jesus meets her where she is in her broken life. Without judgment and through dialogue, he draws her into a personal encounter with his loving heart. He enables her to see that she is not fulfilled by the life she has been living. “You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’ For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband.” Jesus awakens a deep spiritual thirst in her, and she comes to see that he alone can satisfy her thirst for love.
Yes, this woman had a checkered past; but Jesus is more concerned about new beginnings than shady pasts. Most of us have made life choices that we’re not proud of. As we reflect upon our poor choices, we will see that oftentimes they were motivated out of a thirst for love and for belonging. As we contemplate this encounter between Jesus and the woman at the well, the Lord desires that we become deeply aware of our thirst for love, our thirst for mercy. He desires us to see that he alone can fill our empty hearts. Jesus meets us in this moment of prayer to enable us to see that he alone can quench our thirst for love.
There is another important place where Jesus speaks of thirst: on the Cross. On the Cross, Jesus says, “I thirst.” Spiritually, we can interpret Jesus’ words as a thirst for our friendship because he knows that only in a friendship with him will our thirst be satisfied.
Points for Meditation
- Ask the Lord to help you to become aware of your spiritual thirst.
- Ponder the many ways you’ve tried to satisfy that thirst but were left still thirstier.
- Speak the same words to Jesus that the woman at the well spoke to him: “Lord, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty.”
Lord Jesus, I long to be loved, and there are many ways that I’ve tried to quench my thirst for love that have left me empty. Help me to know that you thirst for my friendship because you know that you alone can satisfy my thirst to be loved. Like the woman at the well, may I allow myself to be drawn into a life-changing encounter with you. Only by allowing myself to be loved by you will my spiritual thirst be quenched.
Image Credit: William Dyce (1806-1864) – The Woman of Samaria – 1897P8 – Birmingham Museums Trust. Public Domain accessed via Wikimedia Commons.
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Fr. Michael Najim was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Providence in 2001. He currently serves as the pastor of St. Pius X Parish in Westerly, RI.