Third Sunday of Lent – A

Sharjah, 21-23.03.2014.
Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio
His Grace Archbishop Petar Rajič

Ex 17:3-7; Rom 5:1-2,5-8; Jn 4:5-42

During one of his journeys, Jesus takes some time out to take a rest beside a well in a Samaritan village and have a conversation with a local woman. Samaritans were considered enemies of the Jews, yet Jesus went beyond this barrier and He even crossed another obstacle when he spoke with a woman, which was looked down upon in his time.

Jesus asks the woman to give him a drink of water by the well. While he may certainly have been physically thirsty after his journey, the true thirst he experienced during the encounter was for the faith of this woman. Jesus speaks to this woman who is burdened by her past, yet even though she had five husbands, he does not condemn her for having so many men in her life nor does he embarrass her due to her past relationships. He goes further than the outward moral precepts of the law and deeper into her heart. What he said to her in effect was ‘if you continue to drink the type of water you have been drinking thus far, that is, the water of your passions, selfishness and sin, you will always remain thirsty and never truly be satisfied’. He was teaching the woman that the passing pleasures of this world can never satisfy our true inner thirst for life in its fullness and for the knowledge of God, who is the source of true life and love.

During their conversation, Jesus opens her mind to the realities of the Spirit and to the real state of her conscience. She accepts the truth about herself and her life, which then opens her heart and soul to the divine truth that Jesus wishes to offer her. He is the one who tells her everything she has always wanted to know, all she has really desired and been searching for. In other words, everything she has been thirsting for in her life.

While we all thirst for meaning, truth, justice and love, in our lives, unfortunately we often search in the wrong places: in the world of entertainment, in material possessions, in dangerous liaisons and risky business. All that is true and good for mankind, everything required to make one happy and fulfilled, can be found in Jesus Christ. The thirst of God is not for water but for the hearts and souls of those who would believe in him. Jesus also tells the woman that the water he offers to people is the source of eternal life. God gave his people real water in the desert, but now he is offering us a different type of water, the water of faith, which quenches our thirst and gives us new life.

The Lord Jesus said to this woman and through her to all of us: The hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. Now is the time for all of us, during the season of Lent, to examine more deeply own heart, in Spirit and in truth, to see if it accuses us, so that we can then be reconciled to God in holy confession, and then taste and see the goodness of the Lord (Ps 34:8).

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