Exodus 17:3-7; Ps 95:1-2, 6-9; Romans 5:1-2, 5-8; John 4: 5-11, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42
Baptism in very much in the foreground during our Lenten journey. Some have been preparing since last fall to be baptized during the Easter Vigil. Those of us who have already been baptized are hopefully examining our lives during this penitential season. For many of us, our parents made a baptismal commitment for us to be part of the kingdom of God for us. Sometimes in our adult life, we need to make our own commitment to follow Jesus and live by his principles.
Today’s scriptures appropriately highlight baptism. In the Exodus story, God tells Moses to strike a rock and water will flow for the people to drink, cook, bath and water their animals. We have some questions humanly about that rock providing water for a 40-year journey through the desert. Water did part to allow the Jews to leave Egypt. Now water was necessary to live in the desert.
St. Paul makes reference today to the cleansing water that poured forth from the heart of Jesus on the cross before he died. That water offered forgiveness of sins for all of humanity that would accept it.
The gospel story about Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well is a very beautiful story too long to go into detail here. Jesus offered her living water or life-giving water. She questioned where he would get that living water so she wouldn’t have to get water daily from that well. Jesus told her he had that water.
If we have a good Bible with footnotes and cross references, it leads us to other passages of scripture that increase our understanding. The main one I have fallen in love with is found in Revelation 22:1-2. This was the last vision of heaven St. John saw.
The angel then showed me the river of life-giving water, clear as crystal, which issued from the throne of God (our Father) and of the Lamb (Jesus) and flowed down the middle of the streets. On either side of the river grew the trees of life which produce fruit twelve times a year, once each month; their leaves serve as medicine for the nations.
Picture that in your mind and meditate on it. We can see how it would flow from the pierced heart of Jesus on the cross.
Seven streams of water
This water comes from our Father and Jesus in heaven. It flows through Jesus into the church Jesus founded on earth. It divides into seven major streams in the church when we open our heart in prayer. This water first came into us at our Baptism. It is also the divine power in the other sacraments.
For our Lenten journey, do we, like the sinful Samaritan woman at the well, desire more of this Jesus’ water? The more we want the more we can receive. Yet it is not just to fill us up with divine riches, it blesses us. Jesus wants it to flow through us to others, through our works of mercy. We bear fruit abundantly to help others and make the area around us, better places to live in. I believe I am a peach tree. What kind of a tree is your fruit for others?
Please keep praying Chaplets of Divine Mercy and rosaries for our country, our new administration, better communication and conversion of the terrorists. Our prayers are having good effects especially as Jesus is converting many Moslems.
Have a blessed week,
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2017 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)