Third Sunday of Lent by Father Joseph Tedesco
Homily of 24th March 2019
Exodus 17: 3 – 7 Romans 5: 1-2, 5- 8 John 4: 5 – 42
Who is Christ for us is the question at-hand in the gospel? And the powerful story of the Samaritan women unfolds the mystery.
Living Water has so many meanings. When you live in the desert, living water, running water, not stagnant water is a precious gift. A life-giving gift. Jacob found water in the desert. Moses struck water from the rock. So, Jesus finds his way to Jacob’s Well to rest and has this encounter with the Samarian women.
The woman comes to the well at noon time – the 6th hour and needs Water.
Whether we realize it or not we are always thirsting, but truly we are thirsting for God because we are always thirsting for wholeness, for completeness and fulfilment. The challenge is we think we can get it by fulfilling our hungers – on an earthly level, the hungers of belonging, ambition, for material things, approval, intimacy, and we find out that ultimately none of them works because it’s never enough to really satisfy the deepest hunger. That personal loneliness that is the human condition. So, we are always thirsting.
But then we hear the words of Jesus, “If you drink this water you will never thirst again!” Oh, give me this water, we cry. We want this living water, just like the woman at the well. We petition just like her, ”Jesus, give me this living water!!” It is Christ himself who is this living water. He is the Spirit of truth and wisdom, that quenches every thirst, the very eternal thirst for God.
So, Jesus confronts the woman with truth, her truth, so he can say to her, you will never thirst again when you confront the truth. And live the truth. Jesus is not afraid of the truth, his own truth. He names it to his disciples over and over. How he has to go up to Jerusalem and be handed over to the chief priests and be put to death. Jesus names it to his disciples as if he himself must come to accept the reality of his death.
Jesus is inviting us to confront our truth. We know that truth sets us free. Truth in a way can help to quench this deep thirst. Truth sometimes can be hard to take but it is always life giving in the end. Because it forces us to confront reality and to live it out so that all life is transformed into the truth of God. It moves us from the shadows, like the woman, into the light, into the truth of God. Our truth in God. Moving to live our real life with God. Who loves us? What is God inviting you into, by naming your truth. Who are you, deep with-in? What in you, needs to be uncovered, accepted perhaps?
Now we know the many challenges this journey requires. Often it takes lots of courage, guts to name it, to overcome fear, we can be afraid of the truth, because it requires acceptance, change, responsibility and action. So, this story is really one of conversion, the conversion to live Christ in us. That’s our Lenten journey. To name our sinfulness, our need for Christ and his redemption. The journey to the Well of Truth. So, we see all these life-giving elements in this story at the Well. The woman does not back away from her truth, she even shares that with the towns people, “he told me everything I ever did.” So, she is able to declare the new reality that opens up here – He is a prophet. Which moves to the dialogue about true worship.
Here we are getting into the real truth of Jesus. He says, no longer will you worship on this Mountain or in Jerusalem but in Spirit and Truth you will worship the Father.
Then the woman comes to another moment of truth. She says the Messiah is coming, and Jesus proclaims, “I am he.” Jesus uses the key words of the revelation of God to Moses, I am.
Now here’s where we come in again. We come now to our own faith. The woman and then through her testimony the town’s people come to accept Jesus as the Messiah. We too proclaim Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah for all humanity. This is our moment to deepen our faith, to live our life in Christ. Our moment to be authentic Christians in Spirit and Truth.
What do we learn in all this? God’s truth purifies. God’s truth changes us. Jesus invitation to his life purifies the sinfulness of all humanity and brings us all to a radical reorientation which we see in the story of the woman and town’s people. From Sin to God’s life. This real conversion is the central theme of all of Christ’s preaching and ministry. This conversion in us is the new life of grace that transforms our minds and hearts and wills. The orientation to God alone. This is our Lenten journey, the truth we seek, to be for God alone in every way. Can we live this faith, and make it our truth, our life even more?
Jesus is inviting us to drink the living water of his very life. And he gives us this gift at every Eucharist. So, in a few moments we will accept again all that Christ offers us and our thirst is quenched in a way that is so life giving and so eternal.