The readings for the Third Sunday of Lent are all about thirst:
The Jews crossing the desert that led to the Promised Land became weary, and suffering from thirst, lost hope in attaining the prize promised them by God. “Did we flee Egypt to die of thirst with our families and livestock? We were better off as slaves.” Moses pleaded with God to satisfy his people even though they did not merit mercy. God instructed Moses to tap a rock with his staff and all would receive the water they needed. With their thirst quenched, they, for the time being, regained their hope and were ready to move on again.
Jesus, early in his ministry, was traveling through Samaria with a few of his disciples. He sent them out for food and told them to meet him the well up ahead. While resting at the well, a Samaritan woman came to draw water. Jesus asked her for a drink. The conversation that ensued was an example of Jesus the Teacher at its best. The woman spoke of thirst on a purely physical level while Jesus spoke of the spiritual thirst of all who seek God and a godly life. As Jesus revealed himself, the woman, mystified, began to realize that Jesus’ thirst was for her soul, not the water she could draw for him. She sensed a love she had never before experienced. This woman, whose lifestyle caused her to be ostracized by her peers, was not shunned by Jesus. Rather, he engaged her in conversation and revealed himself in such a way that he won her complete trust. She experienced mercy and forgiveness, and without realizing what was happening, she no longer thirsted for what she had thought unattainable. She went away, enjoying peace in her heart and shared it with all whom she met. This nameless Samaritan woman became an apostle among her people proclaiming that the Prophet had finally come.
Thirst drives us forward. Thirst must be quenched. If it is not, there is no hope for life. God saw to it that his People’s thirst was quenched so that they would not lose hope as they traveled to the their Promised Home. While Moses was the mediator between God and God’s People, Jesus needed no mediator. He came personally to quench our thirst for that which is good. He, in his encounter with the woman at the well, healed her heart and revealed himself as the Prophet for whom her people had been waiting. This woman’s spiritual thirst was quenched and she could not wait to tell her fellow villagers that she had met the One promised by God. She became Jesus’ first apostle to the gentiles!
I pray: Jesus, let me be like the woman at the well. As I encounter you today, I pray that my heart will be healed and that I will be satisfied by the waters of your mercy and love. I sit here at the well of your mercy, ready to receive you as my Savior and willing to go forth as your apostle to those who thirst for you. Jesus, with you as my Teacher, I know my hope will never wane. I adore and bless you and I want to share you with all whom I encounter today!