3rd Sunday of Lent (Fr. Simham)
HE STOOPS TO CONQUER
All of us are born thirsty. The beauty of God’s creation is that 70 percent of the earth is covered with water. And you know 65 percent of human body is also made up of water. So any shift in this balance will make you thirsty. And also God has created within us a thirst for things physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental. For instance, God has created us with a built-in thirst for food, drink, clothing, and shelter. God has created us with a thirst for stability and security. God has created us with a thirst for love, acceptance, friendship, and marriage. God has created us with a thirst for knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and culture.
All of us are born thirsty. Why else does natural man have a consuming desire to acquire wealth? Why else does he crave for the honours and acclaim of the world? Why else does he rush madly after pleasure? Why else does he engage in an endless search for wisdom? Why else does he endlessly explore the earth and the heavens? Why? Because there is an aching void in his life. Why? Because there is something in every natural man that is unsatisfied. Why? Because he is thirsty!
All of us are born thirsty. Who and what can quench our thirst? Our gospel today has an answer.
In our Gospel reading we meet a woman from Samaria. This woman is no stranger to thirst. She is thirsty that is why she is at the well to draw water. And a little look into her personal life: that she has been divorced five times and is living with a boyfriend when she meets Jesus, shows that her thirst is for something greater in her life. Here is a woman who is thirsty for a lasting, durable, stable relationship. Here is a woman thirsting for meaning and direction in her life. As St.Augustine says she is indirectly searching for God who alone can satisfy the thirst of our soul. To her good luck she come across a man (God incarnate) who can give her the water to quench her thirst.
Jesus also knows something about thirst. He himself is thirsty. He asks the woman at the well for a drink of water. And his thirst also is something more than thirst for water. St.Augustine again sheds some light for our reflection. Here is a God who is thirsting for souls. “ I came to seek and save the lost” said Jesus. Here he is seeking the soul that was lost. So this is an encounter of two thirsty people meeting each other and discussing ways of quenching their thirsts.
Let us now go into the details of the dialogue that is taking place between these two thirsty souls. The common ground for them is the immediate thirst for water from the well that can quench their throats which are dried up. So Jesus comes down to her level and asks for ordinary water. When Fr.Sean asked me what is going to be your theme for next Sunday I told him “He stoops to conquer.” He comes down to her level to conquer her. He finds a common platform to enter into conversation with her. He asks for a drink, and he promises her a drink. Starting with this look at the way he raises the level of their conversation. From the impossibility of drawing water from the well, it goes to disclosing of her personal life and the discussion about where to worship God; Where to seek God who can quench our thirst? Ending up in seeking God in “Spirit,” who is the font welling up from within and in “truth” who is Jesus himself.
Another interesting thing to notice is how the woman through her dialogue with him journeys in her discovery of who he is.
First she encounters him as a stranger, a Jew. An outsider who has nothing to do with her.
Then, she asks are you greater than Jacob? Recognizes that he is some one great.
When her personal life is revealed, she says “You are a prophet of God”
And finally she ends up saying “ Come and see,…… Can this be the Messiah?
That is her journey. A strangers becomes the messiah now.
Secondly ,look at the ending of the episode. A woman who came with a Jar for water leaves the Jar and the well and runs and proclaims that she had found the Messiah who can quench her real thirst. A soul thirsting for God has found the font which is the source of living water. And she is satisfied. And God who is thirsting for souls; who came to seek and save the lost is satisfied that he found the lost soul which is proclaiming him as the messiah now. He is satisfied. When the disciples ask him to eat he says “ He has already eaten. His hunger and thirst are satisfied now for the day”.
During this lent we need to allow Jesus free entry into our personal lives. Jesus wants to get personal with us, especially during this Lenten season. Jesus wants to get into our “private” lives. We have a “private” personal life which is contrary to the will of God. We don’t allow anyone to enter into it because we feel embarrassed about it. But Christ wishes to come into that “private” life, not to embarrass us, not to judge or condemn us, not to be unkind or malicious to us. Christ comes into our “private” personal life to free us, to change us and to offer us what we really need: living water. Will you allow him to come into your life and change it. Think about it and see. Amen.
Fr. Showreelu Simham