Date: Sunday, March 15, 2020
The words “I thirst” are imprinted in the Chapel of the Missionary Sisters of Charity, a Religious Community founded by St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta. These two words are uttered by Jesus on the cross and found in the Gospel according to St. John. Certainly, in this extreme condition, Jesus is acknowledging his physical thirst as we know persons who are seriously ill and dying will ask for just a sip of water. However, in the Gospel according to St. John, there are always deeper layers of meaning.
Jesus thirsts to be one with his Father in heaven and to do “the work” God the Father has given to him to do. “God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son that everyone who believes in him might not die but come to eternal life.” Jesus is thirsting for us to believe in him and to experience divine life.
“I thirst” are words that describe the desire of the human heart for God. St. Augustine says, “Our hearts will not rest until they rest in God.” This longing of the human heart is beautifully exemplified in the encounter Jesus has with the woman at the well in Samaria. She comes to draw water from the well at noon. Is she being shunned by other women in the village who come early in the morning to avoid the hot sun and to socialize? Jesus having a conversation with an unaccompanied woman is culturally awkward even shocking. She has been married before and Jesus seems to know that the man she is now with is not her husband. They engage in a conversation that is both very personal and theological. Jesus reveals to her that he is the long-awaited Messiah. Jesus offers her “living water” that will quench her deepest thirst for meaning, belonging, being loved and respected.
“Living waters” are not stagnant but flow with currents that carry us into community and into the world with the life we have received from and experience in Jesus. The Samaritan woman leaves her jar/bucket at the well and goes to tell others in the village about her encounter with Jesus. They ask Jesus to stay with them! During the season of Lent and at time of “social distancing” with the coronavirus let us beseech Jesus to stay with us as the source of divine life and the presence of God as we navigate these uncharted waters.