The people wandering in the wilderness grumbled and complained to Moses about being thirsty. Moses in desperation cries out to God who guides him to the rock at Horeb so that the people can drink from the spring that gushed forth from it once it was struck. In today’s Gospel, the theme of thirst continues with the Samaritan woman who longs for the Living Water that Jesus offers her. These are timely readings for me as I recover from dehydration after being sick. I am thirsty too!
How often do we whine when we have risked and stretched our comfort zone only to let fear overtake us? We forget what we wanted in the first place, which for the people of the first reading was freedom. As soon as the going gets tough, we want to run back to security as much as we disliked the situation we were in. Somehow, the appeal of the known usurps our desire for change and growth. Life was easier to contend with when we knew the demons we were confronting. The lack of control and ability to predict in new situations can send us scampering back to what we left with excitement. I am as guilty as most others. I do not mind wrapping myself in the blanket of what I have known instead of trusting that all will be well. Playing the blame game is not becoming though. I would rather own my fears and frustrations and work through them then point fingers in directions other than my own. Why do we test God and those around us with our grumpiness when things do not go our way?
Case in point is my dehydration. I am probably in a constant state of needing more fluids. I do not like to drink. I will force myself to get at least half of what I need on a daily basis. When I was sick though, I did not do that. I had no one to blame but myself. I tried not to be too hard on myself either. I tried to drink more to hydrate myself. A nurse friend did the pinch test on me this afternoon and I laughed. I am on the road to recovery–my skin bounced back. I am still so thirsty though. I need to find new ways of getting fluids in me and I have tried most of the tricks without great results. I am wandering around the desert, like a crotchety woman, demanding that I be healed without making the simple efforts to drink more water. I am annoying myself at this point and I am sure God is having a good chuckle at my expense.
Now if only I had the zest of the Samaritan woman I would be better off. She is a bit prickly with Jesus, bantering boldly without knowing initially to whom she is talking. She knows what she wants when it presents itself though and demands that he give her the living water so that she no longer needs to come to the well. I have always enjoyed the exchange between this woman and Jesus. I almost can imagine a twinkle in his eye when he asks her to call her husband. Then I see compassion as he looks deep into her eyes when she confesses she has no husband. This woman is remembered as one of the first people to evangelize others. She thirsts but she does not complain. She throws off the bonds of the known but unhealthy parts of her life and runs to freedom. She engages and takes responsibility for her choices. She sees the truth of her life through the eyes of the Messiah. What a model for us!
I thirst for the Living Water too. As Lent enters Week Three, I consider what it is I thirst for in these last weeks of Lent. I look at my need to drink deeply from the life-giving water and trust that all I need will be given. I will be hydrated and blossom if I keep my eyes on the Man at the well.
What are you thirsting for at this halfway point in Lent?
What do you need to stop grumbling about?
Living Water, may I always thirst for you. Give me the desire to drink deeply and often from your well. Show me my own truth and let me see myself with your eyes of mercy. Amen.