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Third Sunday in Lent

Third Sunday of Lent

Do I thirst for God?

Dear brothers and sisters, Fiat!

On this Third Sunday of Lent, the liturgy again presents one of the most beautiful and profound passages of the Bible: the dialogue between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. One must read and meditate on it personally, identifying oneself with that woman who, one day like so many other days, went to draw water from the well and found Jesus there, sitting next to it, “tired from the journey” in the midday heat. Jesus’ weariness, a sign of his true humanity, can be seen as a prelude to the Passion with which He brought to fulfilment the work of our redemption.

“Give me a drink”, he said, leaving her very surprised: it was in fact completely out of the ordinary that a Jew would speak to a Samaritan woman, and all the more so to a stranger. But the woman’s bewilderment was destined to increase. Jesus spoke of a “living water” able to quench her thirst and become in her “a spring of water welling up to eternal life”; in addition, he demonstrated that he knew her personal life; he revealed that the hour has come to adore the one true God in spirit and truth; and lastly, he entrusted her with something extremely rare: that he is the Messiah.

All this began from the real and notable experience of thirst. The theme of thirst runs throughout John’s Gospel: from the meeting with the Samaritan woman to the great prophecy during the feast of Tabernacles, even to the Cross, when Jesus, before he dies, said to fulfil the Scriptures: “I thirst”. Christ’s thirst is an entranceway to the mystery of God, who became thirsty to satisfy our thirst, just as he became poor to make us rich. Yes, God thirsts for our faith and our love. As a good and merciful father, he wants our total, possible good, and this good is he himself. The Samaritan woman, on the other hand, represents the existential dissatisfaction of one who does not find what he seeks. She had “five husbands” and now she lives with another man; her going to and from the well to draw water expresses a repetitive and resigned life. However, everything changes for her that day, thanks to the conversation with the Lord Jesus, who upsets her to the point that she leaves her pitcher of water and runs to tell the villagers: “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”.

Luisa wrote in April 1938 that the pain that most pierced Jesus on the cross was His ardent thirst. He felt He was burning alive; all the vital humors had gone out through His wounds which, like many mouths, were burning and wanted to quench their ardent thirst; so much so, that unable to contain Himself, He cried out: ‘I thirst!’ This ‘I thirst’ remained and is always in the act of saying: ‘I thirst’. Jesus never stop saying it; with His open wounds, with His parched lips, He is always repeating: ‘I am burning, I thirst! O please, give Me a little drop of your love to give a little refreshment to my ardent thirst.

In everything the creature does, Jesus keeps repeating with His mouth opened and burned: ‘Let Me drink, I am burning of thirst.’ As the creature walks, Jesus cries out to her steps with His parched mouth: ‘Give Me your steps, done for love of Me, to quench my thirst.’ If she works, Jesus asks for her works, done only for love of Him, as refreshment for His ardent thirst; if she speaks, He asks for her words; if she thinks, He asks for her thoughts – like many little drops of love to refresh His ardent thirst.

It was not just His mouth that was burning, but all of His Most Holy Humanity felt the extreme need of a refreshing bath for the ardent fire of love that burned Him; and since it was for the creatures that He was burning in excruciating pains, only creatures, with their love, could quench His ardent thirst and give a refreshing bath to His Humanity.

But who listens to Him? Who has compassion for Him? Only one who lives in His Will. All the others play deaf, and maybe increase His thirst with their ingratitude.

One who wants to receive all divine goods  must enter God’s Will and remain in It. The Divine Will is not only life, but with Its immensity It forms God’s residence around Him, in which It keeps all His acts, words, and all that they are, always in act. God’s things do not go out of His Will; one who wants them must be content with carrying out her life together with It, and then everything is her own – nothing is denied to her. If God wants to give His things to her, but she does not live in His Will, she will not appreciate them, nor love them; she will not feel the right to make them her own, and when things are not made one’s own, love does not arise – it dies.

In the encounter with the Samaritan woman the symbol of water stands out in the foreground, alluding clearly to the sacrament of Baptism, the source of new life for faith in God’s Grace. This Gospel, is part of the ancient journey of the catechumen’s preparation for Christian Initiation, which took place at the great Easter Vigil. “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him”, Jesus said, “will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life”. This water represents the Holy Spirit, the “gift” par excellence that Jesus came to bring on the part of God the Father. Whoever is reborn by water and by the Holy Spirit, that is, in Baptism, enters into a real relationship with God, a filial relationship, and can worship him “in spirit and in truth”, as Jesus went on to reveal to the Samaritan woman.
Each one of us can identify himself with the Samaritan woman: Jesus is waiting for us, especially in this Season of Lent, to speak to our hearts, to my heart. Let us pause a moment in silence, in our room or in a church or in a separate place. Let us listen to his voice which tells us “If you knew the gift of God…”.

What do I thirst for? Do I thirst for God, for His love?  “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God….?”. Who can satisfy our thirst for happiness, for truth, for love?

Like the Samaritan woman, let us also open our hearts to listen trustingly to God’s Word in order to encounter Jesus who reveals his love to us and tells us: “I who speak to you am he”. 


don Marco

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