Third Sunday in Lent – 19/03/2017

This Sunday we have the great privilege of hearing the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. This Samaritan woman represents all those who are looking for love and satisfaction in life in the wrong places. She is trying to satisfy the deepest longings of her heart with something less than God. It is said that there is an unquenchable fire or an unfriendly energy or restlessness within all of us. It may surface in the form of great enthusiasm, anger, frustration, sexual pleasure. The woman also had this unfriendly energy or restlessness but unfortunately she did not deal with that energy creatively or in a life-giving manner.   Fr. Ron Rolheiser, a great spiritual writer of our time, in his book Holy Longing speaks about this restlessness or unquenchable fire within us. He says that we should not take this fire or energy within us naively. He says that if someone tries to play with this fire, he will be in danger. Christian spirituality teaches us that we need to handle this unfriendly fire within us with the help of God who is the source of all energy. That is why St. Augustine once said “We have been made for you, God, My heart is restless until I rest in thee”. As a young man, Augustine too engaged in self- indulgence and therefore he failed to experience true peace within him.  The Samaritan woman in the gospel was trying to deal with her restlessness by satisfying her bodily pleasures. She tried to satisfy her thirst by drinking from the well of sexual pleasure. The more she did it more she got thirsty again. If we try to drink from the well of wealth, power, fame, we get thirsty again and again because all these wells run dry.  Who can satisfy the deepest thirst or longings of our hearts? It is only Jesus who can do it. Pope Francis says that Jesus is waiting to satisfy our deepest longings as He waited to meet the Samaritan woman at the well. He says “God is waiting for you. He is waiting embraces you and to celebrate with you”. Jesus is aware of our restlessness, our inner struggles and even our secrets.  Let us not forget the invitation of Jesus, “Come to me all who are weary and heavily burdened, I give you rest”. There are no preconditions to meet Him; even our grave sins are not a barrier to meet him. What he says is “come as you are”. Let us be humble to meet him with all our longings, restlessness, and frustrations and even with our sins.