Homily(2) 3rdSunday of Lent Year A: Fr. Michael U. UdoekpoReadings: Exod 17:3-7; Ps 95:1-2.6-9; Rom 5:1-2, 5-8 and John 4:5-42
Christ Refreshes and Lavishes Us with his Love
I know all of us are familiar with this delightful story of Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman in John 4. It is a story of God’s incarnate, Christ, who consistently refreshes and lavishes each of us with his love. This loving refreshment goes back to the first Exodus and the experience of dryness of the Israelite in the Wilderness (Exod 17:3-7). On this journey, God not only fights for them, hardens Pharaoh’s heart, but he provides the leadership of Moses, love, food, manna, and drinking water for his chosen people, in spite of who they are; a community who complains and often are distracted from acknowledging the everlasting love of God. God is the Rock and the Love of our lives!
Paul speaks of this ever consistent, universal and refreshing love of God in the second reading (Rom 5:1-2, 5-8). He says, “Brothers and sisters, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith,” hope and love. Ultimately, Jesus proves his love for us in that while were still sinners Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).
The activities of this refreshing love of God is heighten in today's the Gospel passage, when Jesus encounters, dialogues, listens, and shares a cup cold water with the Samaritan woman in John chapter 4 (John 4:5-42).
It is a faithful afternoon, in John 4. Jesus, a Jewish Rabbi is travelling in company of his disciples from Judea to Galilee. He passes through Samaria. Here he meets this Samaritan woman who comes to draw a fresh water from the well of Jacob. Everyone must have been thirsty to a different degree: the woman, Christ and his disciples, since it was in the middle of the summer heat. To the shock of everyone Jesus, a Jewish rabbi breaks protocols and dismantles the unnecessary status quo. He approaches, this symbolic, individual, a woman for a cup drinking water. He also spends sometime chatting with her, respectfully, to the tacit disapproval of his disciples!
This conversation and exchange are much more than the search and thirstiness for ordinary water. Jesus is friendly, respectful to women and people of all cultures. It is not long the Samaritan woman recognizes this. She recognizes the gifts and the compassion of Jesus. She recognizes his divinity, his prophetic role, his saving mission, his patience in dialogue, his forgiving power, and his spiritual depth as a true source of the Living Water. She invites the rest of the Samaritan town to trust and visit with Jesus, the source of life, and the Savior of the World ( John 4:42).
This water cleanses our personal faults and save our unsafetiness. It refreshes and replaces our thirstiness for material things with spiritual need. It replaces our hunger for war with peace. It replaces our desire for revenge with a thirst for reconciliation. It refreshes our stinginess with generosity, our selfishness with charity, our hopelessness with hope. This Living Water of Christ refreshes our divisiveness with universalism; our exclusivism with inclusivism, especially with regard to the poor, the aged, the immigrants, the sick, the weak and the marginalized of our society.
As we journey through this desert of Lent and Exodus of hope, may we strive to imitate the Samaritan woman, disposing ourselves to Christ’s healing mercy. May we reach out to others, inviting them to partake in this bountiful love Christ, and in the spiritual drink of faith.