Our Inner Thirst

03-12-2023From the Pastor's DeskMonsignor Ellsworth R. Walden

There is an old expression that warns us about going to the well too many times. The fact is we all seek “wells” in our lives, the wells that give us life, love, peace, mercy, and hope. All of us have a vast reservoir of love and hope. How do we release the love and hope that we have? Sometimes we are confused or tired, feeling that we are just drained of energy and just want some time for ourselves. The way to find nourishment and energy is to focus on how good it is to accept God’s love and give of ourselves in love to one another.

In the Gospel for today’s Mass (John 4:5-42) we see Jesus encountering the woman at the well. This passage begins by telling us that “Jesus, tired from His journey, sat down there at the well.” The disciples went off to get some provisions for nourishment. As Jesus sits by the well the Samaritan woman comes to draw water. In her encounter with Jesus we see that she probably came to the well a noon, at time when no one came because of the heat of the day, to draw water. Her life was one of broken relationships and the pain they caused. As their conversation progresses Jesus speaks of the living water He wants to give her. No longer is He looking to rest and get some time for Himself. He is energized and inspired to love because that is who He is and what He came to do. He did not see her as a pest or a distraction, but as someone with the thirst we all have for life, love, peace, mercy, and hope. Jesus reveals that He knows the inner thirst she has and we all have, the thirst for the living water that comes from Him, the living water of life, love, peace, mercy, and hope. Never did Jesus pass up on opportunity to engage and touch those He encountered. His goal was not to win people over but to enrich them with the purest of intentions and the joy He felt when His love took root.

Love never drains us as Jesus shows in this passage. Even on the cross He never lost His focus on how He could love. In his agony and the injustice as He hung on the cross His heart continued to pour forth love: “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) “This day you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’” Jesus refused to be drained of the love He came to give us no matter what the response or circumstances. He is the font of life, love, peace, mercy, and hope we all thirst for and seek. We can never come to the well of Jesus life, love, peace, mercy, and hope too often. The fact is we do not come there enough to the open heart of our Savior. Not only does He save us from our sins and punishment for them, He raises us beyond fear, doubt, and guilt. He is never too tired, disappointed, or discouraged to do that for us. Would that we could come to know the joy of the Samaritan woman as she exclaimed: “Come and see a man who told me everything I have done. Could He possibly be the Christ?” Our answer as people of faith is, “Absolutely!!!” 

Thank God, Jesus is well of life, love, peace, mercy, and hope. All we have to do is open our minds hearts to Him and take the leap of faith of the Samaritan woman. How good it is to receive Him in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, the Sacrament of Penance, and to spend time in prayer with Him every day.

I offer these verses from Psalm 27 for your prayerful reflection.

The Lord is my light and my help;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
before whom shall I shrink?

When evildoers draw near to devour my flesh,
it is they, my enemies and foes, who stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me
my heart would not fear.
Though war break out against me
even then would I trust.

There is one thing I ask of the Lord, for this I long,
to live in the house of the Lord, all the days of my life,
to savor the sweetness of the Lord,
to behold his temple.

For there he keeps me safe in his tent
in the day of evil.
He hides me in the shelter of his tent,
on a rock he sets me safe.

For there he keeps me safe in his tent
in the day of evil.
He hides me in the shelter of his tent,
on a rock he sets me safe.

And now my head shall be raised above my foes who surround me, and I shall offer within his tent a sacrifice of joy.
I will sing and make music for the Lord.