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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, March 27, 2011

By Sharon K. Perkins
Catholic News Service

March 27, Third Sunday of Lent

Cycle A Readings:

1) Exodus 17:3-7

Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9

2) Romans 5:1-2, 5-8

Gospel: John 4:5-42

I grew up on a farm in Texas in the 1960s and was able to experience some things that few young people do today. One of these was spending the better part of my summer days walking seemingly endless rows of cotton or corn with a hoe in hand, rooting out weeds and grasses that could take over a field crop.

It was hot, dirty and often monotonous work -- at least until we got to the end of a row and stopped to drink from the burlap-wrapped jug of cold water that was kept under the pickup truck. Not only was I able to satisfy my thirst, but that waiting water jug gave me a good excuse to rest from my labors. I stretched those water breaks as long as humanly possible!

Imagine the children of Israel sojourning in the desert for 40 years, their wandering punctuated by infrequent stops for water. As the reading from Exodus indicates, they grumbled about their thirst and wondered whether God was in their midst or not.

In response, God provided not only water from a rock to ease their physical thirst but also spiritual refreshment -- the opportunity to renew their trust in the one who, as the psalmist says, was the rock of their salvation.

In the Gospel, Jesus is tired from his journey and stops at a Samaritan well to rest. He is also thirsty, but not as thirsty as the woman who comes to draw water. She, too, is in need of rest: from her difficult past, from her burdensome reputation and from her spiritual emptiness.

She encounters a "water break" that she never could have expected: a road-weary prophet offering not only frank conversation but "living water," a gift of refreshment and renewal that comes from worshiping God "in spirit and in truth."

The challenges of human life provide many temptations to grumble about our "thirst" and to want quick fixes for our problems so that we can be on our way. The church's season of Lent invites us to stop awhile, to have an honest conversation about our lives, and to rest our tired souls at the well of "living water" that is Jesus. Only then are we refreshed and able to resume our journey.


In what aspect of your life are you weary and thirsty for renewal? If you were having a conversation with Jesus at the well, what would you say to each other?


"If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him and he would have given you living water" (John 4:10).


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