Grace to you!
The Psalmist expresses one of the best descriptions of the ultimate desire of the human heart: “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?” (Ps 42:2)
From Saint Augustine, we receive a similar idea. He noted how rest or peace of soul is found in God. Saint Catherine of Siena's mystic description in her The Dialogue, underscores the same point. She says that enduring satisfaction for the human heart can only happen with someone higher and most excellent—God.
Insatiability of every heart (a human reality) is a pointer to a higher desire, a higher thirst.
Biblical stories express this reality of human desires. From the Book of Exodus (17: 3-7), we hear an account of the people of Israel at Massah and Meribah. They were thirsty and bitterly complained against God. Thirst for water was the immediate, physical need described. But a more in-depth spiritual application of the text inserted in the entire plan of salvation (economy of salvation), shows its symbolism to the divine satisfaction of the human heart.
We see in the story a picture of the Journey of the Pilgrim Church on earth as we make it to our Eternal Home. On the journey, the soul is thirsty for water, the water of life. The soul needs living water to be alive, just as the body needs drinking water to keep going.
So the Lord Jesus proposes the water of life to the woman at Jacob's Well (John 4:10). This Samaritan woman led a life that was spiritually dry, morally weakened, troubled, and socially isolated. She lacked the Water of Life. Her story is typical of anyone searching to find the fullness of life. Hence the Church uses it during this third Sunday of Lent (called Scrutiny in ancient rites) for those who are going to become believers through Baptism on Easter Vigil.
Many of us (like the Samaritan woman) are thirsty, starved of the Living Water. As a result, we lead lives deprived of inner joy, peace of soul, and righteousness.
The Lord proposes to offer the Samaritan woman the Living Water. He makes the same offer to us as well. "If you knew what God is offering and who it is that is saying to you: Give me a drink, you would have been the one to ask, and he would have given you Living Water" (Jn 4:10). The Lord emphasizes the water he will give is such that anyone who drinks it shall never be thirsty again. The water will turn into a spring inside the person, welling up to eternal life (Jn 4:14).
This water isn't a combination of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen. It isn't a material, a chemical compound. It is the food of the soul, "the balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course" (borrowing a phrase from Shakespeare), the advocate of sinners, elixir of troubled minds, the consolation of the distressed, the counselor, the Paraclete, the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit. In essence, we receive the grace of the Holy Spirit promised us by the Lord Jesus. This grace is the "seed of eternal life," welling unto eternity.
On the last day of the feast at the Jerusalem gate, Jesus stood and made this bold claim: "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of Living Water will flow from within him" (Jn 7: 38).
Scripture noted. By this, Jesus meant the Holy Spirit, who those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time, the Spirit had not been given, since the Lord had not yet been glorified (Jn 7:39). So the Lord promises to provide us with his Holy Spirit.
We cannot imagine a Christian life without this Living Water. It is like thinking of a car without gas or a marriage devoid of love.
Those preparing for Baptism at Easter Vigil receive the grace of the Holy Spirit when the water of Baptism is poured on their head, and the Trinitarian formula pronounced. Not only is original sin cleansed, sanctifying grace is impacted, accompanied by the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. Further, the Sacrament of Confirmation confirms them in the Holy Spirit.
For those who have received this grace, the seed of life eternal, “fan into flame the graces (gift of God) you have received” (2 Tim 1:6).
Praying that we be filled with and led by the Holy Spirit. Amen
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Third Sunday Lent; Exodus 17:3-7; Rm 5:1-2,5-8;Jn 4:5-42]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.