March 15, 2020 – 3rd Sunday of Lent

“Quenching our thirst in the unconditional love of the Lord!”

(Based on Ex 17:3-7, Rom 5:1-2, 5-8 and Jn 4:5-42)

One of the very simplest moral stories that all of us have heard is that of the thirsty crow.

One warm day, a thirsty crow flew all over, looking for water.

For a long time, he could not find any.

He felt weak, and lost all hope.

Suddenly, he saw a water jug below the tree. He flew straight down, and was delighted to see some water inside it!

Sadly, he found that the neck of the jug was too narrow and it was impossible for him to access the water.

He tried to push the jug to tilt, for the water to flow out but the jug was too heavy

The crow thought hard for a while.

Then looking around it, he saw some pebbles and an idea struck him.

He started picking up the pebbles one by one, dropping each into the jug.

As more and more pebbles filled the jug, the water level kept rising.

Soon it was high enough for the crow to drink.

His plan had worked.. His thirst had been quenched! 

The moral of this story is to “Think and work hard, you may find solution to any problem”.

But when we consider this story from another perspective, we notice that it also shows the deep craving inside every creature, to satisfy one’s thirst.

One is restless till this thirst is fulfilled…
One is impatient till this craving is satisfied…

This agitated thirst is also innate in every human being…
… a thirst for the Divine, for the Transcendental.

And this thirst, compels humans…
… to search… to seek…
… for the source of satisfaction
… for the fountain of fulfilment

But how wonderful it would be to be knowing and to be convinced that this “thirst” can find its fulfilment only in God.

And how wonderful it would be, if all human beings could be properly guided and correctly directed on this path of finding true contentment.

The Gospel of the Day presents the beautiful incident of a “thirsty” Jesus who quenches a “thirsty” woman

The “thirsty” woman – Samaritan woman – expresses her desire for water…
… “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water” (Jn 4: 15)

The “thirsty” Jesus promises fulfilment and contentment to all those who come to Him and believe in Him – the source of Divine Waters of Life….
… “Whoever drinks the water I shall give, will never thirst; the water I shall give, will become in him, a spring of water welling up to eternal life (Jn 4:14)

The Samaritan Woman in her encounter with the Lord is led, from a lower level to the higher level…

  1. Talks on material concerns
    (>> “How can you, a Jew, ask a Samaritan woman for a drink?”)
    (>> “Sir, you don’t even have a bucket…where then can you get this living water?”)
    (>> “Sir, give me this water that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming to draw water”)
  2. Talks on spiritual matters
    (>> “Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you people say that the place to worship is Jerusalem”)
  3. Talks that would lead to a complete life transformation.
    (>> “Go call your husband and come back”)
    (>> “I am He, the One Who is speaking to you”)

This is the story of our experience with religion and spirituality.

Many times, many of us perform religious practices…
… only for material concerns

Some of us, practise faith and spirituality…
… to merely engage in spiritual talks and reflections

But the higher level is the one…
… which leads to life transformation.

The Samaritan woman was led by Jesus, in having this life transformation…
… and she would go on to lead an entire town to believe in Jesus (Jn 4: 39-42)

This entire incident is built around that simple premise: A desire
… a desire that is expressed in the form of “thirst”

The desire of the Samaritan woman – to receive water, so that one may not be thirsty again – is the innate desire and longing within each human being…

In the Old Testament, the people of Israel had murmured and complained against God, in the wilderness for the struggle in food and water…
… “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children, and our cattle with thirst?” (Ex 17:3)

They longed to have their thirst quenched and their desires fulfilled…

Each of us, deep within, are thirsty and hungry….wanting to drink water that will quench the longing, forever.

It is this search that makes people to go out and seek the various sources of satisfaction.

Some feel to have found this fulfilment…
… through worldly pleasures and bad habits like smoking, drinking, obsession with sex, drugs etc, which only lead to momentary external satisfaction and short-lived bursts of thrill.

Some claim to have found this fulfilment…
… in the various philosophies,  new-age patterns of life and naturalistic means of spirituality etc, which may have traces of truth, but fail to provide authentic and fullness of life.

But Jesus, today, boldly and unambiguously declares that its only in HIM that true and complete fulfilment of life can be found:
… “Whoever drinks the water I shall give, will never thirst; the water I shall give, will become in him, a spring of water welling up to eternal life (Jn 4:14)

Elsewhere Jesus will also tell…
… “He who comes to me shall not hunger and he who believes in me shall never thirst” (Jn 6: 35)

Are we convinced of this fact, that its only in Jesus, that I can achieve true and complete happiness…?

Like the Samaritan Woman (Jn 4: 16-18)…
Like the Prodigal Son (Lk 15: 11-32)…
Like St Paul (Acts 8:3)…
… we may have strayed away from this path of truth, to seek our own means and ways to find happiness and satisfaction.

But the Lord, today, calls us back to Him..
… to His Heart
… to His Church
… to His Eucharist

To experience Him fully.

To those who have strayed…
… the call of the Gospel, is to come back to the paths of truth

To those who are holding on to Him…
… the call of the Gospel, is to deepen the conviction, that in Him alone, can the hunger of my soul and the thirst of my heart be fulfilled.

To those who have strayed…
… the Lord invites to build the virtues of humility, docility and openness to the Spirit.

To those who are holding on to  Him…
… the Lord invites to build the virtues of patience, firm trust and a passionate longing.

He has displayed His unconditional and unparalleled love for each one of us, by offering His Life on the Cross for all of us, sinners…

“God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us!” (Rom 5:8)

May Jesus, the Source of Life-giving Waters…
… the One Who alone can quench our thirst
… the One Who loves us unconditionally
… always be the source and summit of our Christian living!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “If I want only pure water, what does it matter to me whether it be brought in a vase of gold or of glass?

What is it to me whether the will of God be presented to me in tribulation or consolation, since I desire and seek only the Divine will?”

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