Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle A

Third Sunday of Lent


 John 4: 4 - 42

"Give me a drink"

It was simply unheard of for a Jew to chat with a Samaritan, and certainly just 'not done' for an unrelated man to hold a conversation with a woman. Jesus broke the twin barriers of racial discrimination and of social convention when he made his request: "Give me a drink". The woman was intrigued with this Jewish man asking her, a Samaritan woman, for a drink. Her first reaction was to protest. But slowly and gently he leads her on in conversation, from talking first about the need for water, to gradually revealing himself as the Christ who offers her the fountain of eternal life.

Our own need for water is just as obvious as was hers; without it we would quickly die. Not so easily recognized is the soul's thirst. We can be so preoccupied with everyday things, that we may neglect the thirsting of the spirit. People may drink copiously at the wells of power, prestige, success, money, pleasure, and still experience a gnawing sense of restlessness. Material things can provide some temporary satisfaction but they cannot satisfy the deep and timeless longings of the human spirit. There is always the thirst for something more.

Jesus offers 'living water' which reaches into the very depth of the human spirit, the water of eternal life which will rise and flow endelessly within us. Jesus offers the gift of the Holy Spirit who alone can quench the human thirst for fullness of life.

It was Jesus who initiated the discussion with the Samaritan. It is always he who takes the initiative, sometimes breaking into our own lives in completely unexpected ways. He reaches out to us, inviting us to receive from him the refreshing water of eternal life, the gift of his Spirit drawing us into a living union with God, a union that fulfils our deepest need and alone can satisfy the thirst of our soul.