Exodus 17:3-7; Psalm 94; Romans 5:1-2, 5-8; John 4:5-42
Rev. Fr. Daniel Evbotokhai
The theme of today’s reading is living water. All of us need water; no man or woman lives without water, we may take other liquids but they cannot replace water. Water is water wherever it is found. Water is a gift from the Lord, in Matt.5:45 the bible says God makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.
In the first reading, the people of Israel were in need of water during their sojourn in the desert. They complained against Moses, they saw him as a wicked leader and a failure but the Lord provided water for them. Human life is an “exodus”; we are moving from slavery to the Promised Land; we are moving from childhood to adulthood; we are moving from earth to heaven. In our journey from one stage to the other we sometimes experience the aridity and fatigue of life; we experience poverty, lowliness, dryness, pains, so much hardship that we begin to ask like the people of Israel in the first reading – Exd.17:7 “Is the Lord among us or not?” Things can become so dry and tough that we begin to ask this question.
The Gospel of today speaks of water. The woman of Samaria came to draw water; but Jesus spoke to her about the living water. What is living water? Living water is a biblical term which appears in both the Old and New Testaments. Jer.2:13 and 17:13, the prophet describes God as “the spring of living water”; Jesus uses the phrase “living water” in two instances in the Bible. First is John 4:10 and secondly John 7:37-39 where He said he who believes in me from his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water. Here Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the living water. St Cyril once asked; why did our Lord call the grace of the Holy Spirit water? St. Cyril answered because by water all things subsist; because water brings forth grass, and living things, water comes down in one form and work in many forms. This is what the Holy Spirit does in our lives. He is the water of our spiritual life, it sustains our spiritual life; giving our existence a meaning.
Secondly, Jesus said to the woman in John4:10 “If you knew the gift of God” this very words are addressed to us today ‘If only we know the gift of God’ if only we know the grace of God that has kept us safe thus far! If only we know the gift of God in the Holy Eucharist! If only we know the gift of God in the confessional! If only we know the power of God that is present in the Church; her sacraments and sacramentals. The bible says in Dan11:32 they that know their God shall hold and stand firm and shall do exploit. We don’t know what we have and so many of us have been spiritually and even physically exploited. And so Hosea lamented in Hos.4:6 my people suffer because of lack of knowledge.
Thirdly, if only we know that Jesus alone is the Living water that fills our void! There is this void in each one us; we have tried to fill it with other things, Just as the Samaritan woman was looking for men to satisfy her soul, we also look to things outside of Christ to give our hearts meaning and purpose. Many of us try to fill that void with women, we jump from one woman to another, and we try to fill it with sex, alcohol and other things. Augustine did the same thing trying to fill the void in his soul until he came to that great conclusion which he penned down in his Confession “Because you have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in Thee.”The void remains until we enter true communion with Him. That is why when the woman was giving living water , she left her jar the way the disciples that left their nets and went about in proclamation. The very moment you bring Christ into that void you will naturally become a focus person.
Fourthly, the woman was ready to learn, she was open to knowledge, so Christ revealed himself to her. Anyone who is ready and willing to learn can be taught. Christ revealed himself to her in her sinful state not in her pretentious state, she was not pretending about her identity; she was real and true. Most times we pretend and so we miss out. Stop pretending; just be your true self that is the only way God can actually help you. The Pharisees did not enter the Kingdom of God because of pretence, what is now called pharisaic attitude. And Jesus said to us if our righteous does not exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees we shall not enter the Kingdom of God. thus, due to her sincerity Jesus revealed mysteries to her that took men years and generations to uncover. Jesus said to her 1. God is Spirit, 2. Those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth, 3. That He -Jesus is the Messiah, 4. That He – Jesus is the Saviour of the world and 5. That He – Jesus has come to seek and find the lost sheep. These were mysteries that were not easy to come by, when Peter stepped into this realm Jesus said to him Matt.16:17 Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you but My Father in heaven.
The woman learned a lot in a short time. Within an hour she learned the theology that men and women of great caliber studied for years. This is what encounter does, it reduces explanation and arguments. Where understanding is limited encounter takes us further. It perfects our understanding. In fact we could see how this woman progressed in understanding; in John.4:9 she called Jesus “a Jew” in verse 11 she called Jesus “sir” in verse 19; she called Him “a prophet”; in verse 29 she called Him “the Christ”; in verse 42 she called Him the Saviour of the world. Encounter gives clarity to dogmatic definitions; encounter sets you on a spiritual progress, it gives you accurate knowledge of the person of Christ. More so, it makes you a teacher and preacher of the person of Christ. This sinful woman became a disciple of Jesus Christ and the bible says in Jn.4:28-30 that they left the city and were on their way to him. During this season of Lent we must seek for an encounter with Christ and become His fervent witnesses everywhere.