Fr Gerald Biñegas RCJ offers you the following homily for today, the Third Sunday of Lent, Year A.
“As the deer longs for running streams, so my soul longs for you, my God.” (Ps 42:1)
Today, the holy Mother Church encourages us to come to Christ the Eternal Living Water. She calls us to break all cultural barriers and prejudices in order to let the eternal living water flow into all hearts.
Water is one of the most important requirements for the sustenance of all lives. In fact, according to scientific studies, water makes up to 60-75 percent of the total body fluid, hence, total withdrawal or extraction of water from any person will result in death. In the Old Testament, water is a common metaphor for spiritual satisfaction.
The first reading of today tells us of the ordeal of the Israelites in the wilderness. After four hundred and thirty years of slavery in Egypt, God came to deliver them. Yet, they grumbled against Moses and, consequently, against God because they were thirsty. God instructed Moses to strike the rock. From it water came forth. The Israelites drank, and were satisfied.
Both the rock Moses struck and the water that gushed out from it allegorically and metaphorically prefigure Christ. He is both the rock of our salvation and our eternal living water. On this third Sunday of Lent, we also need a spiritual drink from the living water that flows from Christ, the Rock of Ages. Hence, we must “Draw water from the well of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3) in order to quench our spiritual thirst this Lenten season.
In the second reading, Paul describes how the love of Christ “is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” Here, Paul implicitly mentions water by the use of the verb “to pour.” He reminds us also of how helpless our life was and could still be without Christ, the Living Water. In other words, through his death Christ made himself the source of our own life.
In today’s gospel, Jesus presents himself to the Samaritan woman as the Eternal Living Water. This underscores the importance of Christ in our life. The lesson from this is that we must not discriminate against people on the basis of their race or culture. Jesus knew quite well who the woman was (a Samaritan) and her life history. Yet, he approached her for a drink. Jesus’ aim was, actually, to draw her closer to himself, the Eternal Living Water.
Hence, by breaking the silence and going against the social customs, and prejudices between Jews and Samaritans, Jesus becomes the gift of God to this woman and her people. Like Jesus, therefore, we must be ready to take risks. This is by challenging the unjust rules of social structures and norms. It is by breaking down walls that exclude people, and by opening up possibilities to others. This is so that they can experience Christ.
Finally, the argument that ensued between Jesus and the woman represents the obstacles that we must overcome in order to draw people to Christ, the Eternal Living Water. In other words, they represent the “rational stubbornness” that society will present to us before they finally yield to the gospel. However, if we ourselves are connected to the Eternal Living Water, we shall have a better and more convincing witness without getting weary.