Third Sunday of Lent 2020
It is hard to believe that this meeting and dialogue between Jesus and the Samaritan would have ever taken place. The animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans at the time is well documented. The significance of this story of the meeting between Jesus and the Samaritan woman has many levels. There is the personal when she is converted to belief in Jesus as Messiah. The second is social when she becomes an evangelist to her own people. And, the third level of the story is educational when Jesus uses his meeting with the Samaritan woman to teach his disciples. What amazes me is the patience that Jesus when teaching the Samaritan woman, his Apostles and us.
How many times have we read and heard that we cannot live on bread alone? We have a hunger for more. A hunger to grow closer to our God. And as with hunger, there are two kinds of thirst in life, and unless we understand the difference between them, we will always be frustrated. The first kind of thirst is physical thirst. We thirst for the good things of this world like food, drink, companionship, fun, entertainment, a nice house, a good income, success at work or school. It's human nature to desire these things, there's nothing wrong with them. But we also have another even more important kind of thirst – spiritual thirst.
Spiritual thirst.is also part of our nature. There is nothing we can do to diminish it, just as there is nothing, we can do to diminish our natural desires for food and water. But spiritual thirst can't be satisfied by things of this world. The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it: "Man is made to live in communion with God, in whom he finds happiness" (#45). But society around us is always trying to change our minds, to convince us that our spiritual thirst is just an illusion, that we really can satisfy all the longings of our hearts just with earthly treasures and pleasures. That's one of the devil's favorite lies. When we try to satisfy our spiritual thirst with physical stuff, we are asking for a life of frustration, tragedy and disappointment.
This Third Sunday of Lent let’s pause for a few moments to contemplate Our Lord’s encounter with the Samaritan Woman. It’s a good opportunity to recall our own encounters with the Lord. To recognize our thirst for God and his love, and Lent is a time to return to the well in order to satisfy that thirst.