Exodus 17 3-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5 1-, 5-8; John 4 5-42
According to a Google survey, 36% of the population carry a reusable water bottle. Water is an essential natural resource, yet in years past, it was not the common choice of beverage, it is today. Because it was so quickly within our reach, many of us failed to realize how very precious this resource is.
Imagine walking across a desert day in and day out for years, waking each morning with a thirst upon you, and no way to alleviate this thirst. This was the plight of the Jewish people after leaving Egypt. They were not always “happy campers.” In today’s first reading from Exodus, we find the weary travelers tired of the manna, tired of the quail – plain tired and very thirsty! Their thirst was physical, but also more profound, and they longed for a place of rest. So they grumbled to Moses, who tired of their complaining, went to God for help. God listened and acted; in fact, God stood before Moses as Moses struck the rock, and water flowed!
The miracle of the flowing water is proclaimed in our Responsorial Psalm, where we find, “Let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.” Solid, unmovable, sturdy are words used to describe a rock, yet this Rock is more significant than any other; this is “our salvation.” The God of our salvation heard the people grumble; He softened those who had turned from Him and had put God to the test by answering their cries. God hears us when we call!
In our second reading to the Romans, Paul sets out a step by step instruction regarding life on earth. Often we are tried and tired as were the Hebrews, so we are called to endure; endurance regularly tests our virtue, tested virtue leads us to hope, and hope leads us to an awareness of God’s love for us. Like gold, in the fire, we are purified. Aware that Christ, the Son of God, died for us while we are still sinners, reminds us that God allowed water to flow from the rock while the people still grumbled against both Moses and God.
Then in John’s Gospel, we hear the beautiful story of the Samaritan woman at the well. Again water is the symbol of life-giving fluid. Most of us know this story well, so we’ll just extract a few points. The woman needs water, so did those in the desert, Jesus speaks, and she’s shocked, but she feels she’s in charge – after all, she has a bucket; note-her bucket is empty. Here is a well; there is a rock. God stands before Moses; Jesus interacts with the woman, and He tells her, “I am He (the Anointed One). God allows water to flow from the rock; Jesus promises, “whoever drinks the water I give will never be thirsty.” Again there is a chain of events. The woman rushes into town and publicly proclaims Christ’s presence and power; people come and are amazed, and they come to believe.
May the waters of Baptism remind us of God’s loving sacrifice, and may our sins be washed away.
Sr. Miriam Catherine Nevins, OP