March 12, 2023 — Third Sunday of Lent
EX 17:3-7; PS 95:1-2, 6-9; ROM 5:1-2, 5-8; JN 4:5-42 OR JN 4:5-15, 19B-26, 39A, 40-42
Today’s readings on this third Sunday of Lent present us with the theme of “thirst” and show us that a stewardship way of life can both satisfy our spiritual thirst for Christ and help us to satisfy Christ’s thirst for souls.
Our first reading, from the book of Exodus, begins with the words, “In their thirst for water, the people grumbled against Moses.” What little faith and lack of trust they show after all God has done to free them from slavery. But Moses cried out to God for help, and sure enough, God provided abundantly to quench their thirst, instructing Moses to strike a rock “and the water will flow from it for the people to drink.” God continued to provide generously for them. And He continues to provide generously for us these many centuries later.
Our second reading, from Paul’s letter to the Romans, is a further reminder of God’s graciousness to us: “The love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” And not because we are deserving, but because God is so very good: “God proves His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” If we spent the rest of our Lent truly contemplating that latter verse, we would surely be inspired to become more passionate stewards in response to such overwhelming love. We would become stewards who, by the heroic sharing of all the gifts God has given us, lead many of those around us to Christ and help to quench His thirst for souls.
Our Gospel passage from John recounts the life-changing encounter that Christ has with the Samaritan woman at the well beginning with His words to her, “Give me a drink.” She is puzzled by this request so our Lord adds, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” Christ is speaking these same words to us today: “Give me a drink” and “If only you knew…”
These two verses encapsulate the call to stewardship. Christ asks us to “give him a drink” by sharing what we have with Him and with others for His sake. Yet, it is Christ Himself who provides the water — the living water that is His grace: “Whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
For some mysterious reason, God has chosen to include us in His plan for bringing all people to salvation through Him. We live out our part in His plan through a stewardship way of life. It is an indescribable privilege to live this way.
Yet, our Lord does not wish us to be concerned about our unworthiness for such a high calling. He demonstrates this throughout the Scriptures by calling the “unworthy.” In today’s passage, He chooses the Samaritan woman. She is a woman with a “past” and even a current living situation that is scandalous. But He calls her to conversion, and she responds to His call, becoming a disciple for her whole village.
He is calling to us too, to live as His modern-day disciples. This Lent, let us resolve to respond to His call with passion and commitment. Let us do our part to quench His thirst for the salvation of all.