Saturday, 14 March 2020 12:33

Third Sunday of Lent

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samaritanwoman01 350The first of the three ‘great Gospels’ of Lent is ours this weekend: the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman.

In the company of a Samaritan woman, our thirst is quenched with water from a well that never runs dry. The woman who comes to the well at midday is the kind of person that ‘ordinary, decent’ Australians frequently belittle. After five previous relationships, and now into her sixth, this unnamed woman’s personal history is a public scandal. This part of the story fills the pages of our glossy magazines and the talk-back radio-waves. Oh, how we love to be scandalised!

Contemporary Australia is less interested in the second part of the story: reconciliation, peace-making and the restoration of self-esteem.

Yet we thirst for love, acceptance, harmony; for a sense of worth and meaning. Misguided attempts to satisfy our thirsts leave us like the poor woman: unsettled, insecure, returning time and time again to the same barren wells.

Now at last water that refreshes and renews us, a gift from God! The ‘spring inside us’ reminds us instantly of our baptismal beauty and proclaims that we have become a ‘new creation’, washed, anointed and clothed in Christ. (Fr Anthony Mellor)

Water is a powerful symbol of life. You can last many days without food, but only a few without water. In our Christian tradition water is a strong symbol of the life of God which sustains us and brings our hearts to life. That is why we use it in Baptism and to bless objects and ourselves. The living water Jesus promises is his Spirit. A spirit which heals and transforms; which revels in the experience of God’s love and mercy; which cannot help but proclaim God’s goodness.

Our fresh encounter with the spirit of Christ this Lent heals and transforms us, and makes us into a “living gospel for all to hear”.

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