3rd Sunday of Lent: “Give Me a Drink!”

“Give Me a drink;” such an innocent request, one that wouldn’t raise any questions. Yet when the Lord Jesus asks the Samaritan woman for a drink, it starts a chain of events that not only results in her conversion, but that of her entire village.

In the first reading, we hear this request being placed in a much more strident fashion, the Jewish people demanding of Moses that he provide water for them—their demand being sufficiently insistent that Moses actually fears for his life! Water in the desert was a scarce commodity; an invaluable one. One might have thought that, given all the miracles that attended their escape from Egypt, there would have been a higher level of trust built up in the people by this time. Yet the Holy One of Israel does not berate them for their lack of faith, but rather, demonstrating, once again, the enormity of His love for them. He not only meets their need for water but does it in a way that demonstrates His ongoing, miraculous, care for them. Moses strikes the rock and water gushes forth. A miracle in its own right, but the impact of that miracle is amplified by the fact that that particular rock then journeys with them, providing an ongoing mobile source of water in the wilderness.

His attendance on them is constant and miraculously present: the pillar of cloud that leads them, which is a pillar of fire by night for their illumination; the manna that rains down from Heaven for them, but that also, every week, demonstrates the importance of keeping the Sabbath; and now this mobile rock providing them with water. He constantly cares for them, demonstrating over and over again His great love for the people He has chosen to call His own. It would be very fruitful for us to meditate on the greatness of His care for them, as it prepares our hearts to more deeply understand how much He cares for us as well.

The Samaritan woman is in a very different place. Her needs are being met, except for her greatest need—her need to know the Lord Jesus personally. He asks for a drink and then points out to her that in fact He is offering her the greatest drink of all: living water. In the conversation He gently points out the relational lack in her life, not only highlighting her need, but demonstrating His supernatural power as well. In some miraculous way, she encounters His love and recognizes in Him the fulfillment of her greatest thirst. The authenticity of her encounter is demonstrated by the fact that her immediate response is to go and tell others ab- out Whom she has encountered—a sure sign of an intentional disciple!

She was thirsty for Him and perhaps did not even consciously know it, until she encounters Him. What about us? Our needs are so commonly met that the idea of being totally dependent on the Lord Jesus for them probably doesn’t even occur to us. (Until the power goes out!) Do we thirst? Is our thirst for the living water of the King of Kings a crucial part of our life, or are we simply comfortable with where we are? Lent is a good time for us to consider our  thirst. The Leadership Team has had some wonderful encounters with the Lord Jesus recently that has enhanced our thirst for more. This came about as we were reviewing the various videos that are part of Alpha. As we watched the videos, we were moved, our thirst was re-awakened, and a desire for more of Him grew in each of us. The Bishop has asked each parish to provide at least two encounter opportunities for its members every year, that everyone’s thirst may be awakened again, and then met by receiving more of the living water! We have chosen Alpha as the primary vehicle for that encounter for Christ the King during this next year. This program, highly recommended by the Church, has been used successfully in many locations to do precisely what the Lord Jesus did for the Samaritan woman—enliven her faith! May we all thirst for more and quench that thirst in the living water!