“Whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst.” (John 4:14)
In this third week of Lent, the readings offer us the imagery of thirst and of water, inviting us to reflect on our deepest needs and desires, both spiritual and physical.
In the gospel story, Jesus interacts with a Samaritan woman at a well, initially asking for a drink of water. Jesus names the woman’s broken relationships and speaks to her of the living water he offers which will quench all thirst. She marvels at his knowledge, calls him a prophet, and asks for this living water. He stays with her community, preaching the good news. (Read: 7 Inspirational Prayers From the Holy Bible)
In the first reading, we hear of God responding to the physical needs of the Israelites, who begged Moses for water while they were stranded in the desert. In the gospel, the connection is made between physical and spiritual needs – the need for physical water from the well is likened to the need for the spiritual, living water of truth that Christ gives.
A Gospel Prayer on the Third Sunday of Lent
All you who are thirsty,
come to the water!
You who have no money,
come, buy grain and eat;
Come, buy grain without money,
wine and milk without cost!
Why spend your money for what is not bread;
your wages for what does not satisfy?
Only listen to me, and you shall eat well,
you shall delight in rich fare.
Pay attention and come to me;
listen, that you may have life.
Seek the Lord while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near.
Let the wicket foresake their way,
and sinners their thoughts;
Let them turn to the Lord to find mercy;
to our God, who is generous in forgiving.
Yet just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
And do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it furtile and fruitful,
Giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eas,
So shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me empty,
but shall do what pleases me,
achieving he end for which I sent it.
Yes, in joy you shall go forth,
in peace you shall be brought home;
Mountains and hills shall break out in song before you, all trees of the field shall clap their hands.
In place of the thornbush, the cypress shall grow,
instead of nettles, the myrtle.
This shall be the Lord’s renown,
as an everlasting sign that shall not fail.
– Isaiah 55: 1-3, 6-7, 10-13