Our Lenten journey is quickly progressing along and we find ourselves sitting by the well in the town of Sychar in the Galilee listening to the words of Jesus. The interaction which takes place between Jesus and the Samaritan woman is cathartic and redemptive. We witness what Jesus does and what he does best: he addresses the situation involving the woman with such pastoral charity and tenderness by bringing his healing presence to this woman who is not only physically thirsty but spiritually thirsty as well. I will reflect more on the Gospel in the context of my homily. I would like to use this space to reflect on the First Reading from the Book of Exodus we hear this Third Sunday of Lent.
To fully appreciate the scene between Moses and the Israelites and the dialogue which takes place between Moses and God we need to remind ourselves of the events that have transpired up until this point. The Israelites have already been banished from Egypt by Pharaoh. Moses has been used many times by God by this point to make his Majesty known by the mighty deeds and signs that he has been able to perform. The water in Egypt has been turned to blood; a plague of locusts has overwhelmed the people; the first born of the Egyptians has been struck down and then, in one of the mightiest deeds, Moses is able to part the waters of the Red Sea so that the Israelites can safely pass through the water and then, once they have been safely brought to the shore, the water returns to its’ normal flow and the Egyptians perish as they were trying to chase after the Israelites. The interesting thing to note is that the Israelites have witnessed all of these things and have been amazed yet over time, they forget the wonders the Lord worked in their sight and they forgot the most important reality: the Lord has made a promise that He would always be with them. Of course, it is easy to forget especially with the passage of time. The Israelites simply forgot and seemingly turn on Moses and they begin to grumble. I have always imagined the chaotic scene: a bunch of people hovering around Moses who is tired of hearing the complaints. Moses, frustrated, turns to the Lord and he begins to complain. What a scene. In the end, as we hear this weekend, the grumblings of the Israelites are heard and answered. The Lord always listens; he hears every prayer and answers them. Of course, He doesn’t always answer prayers as we would like for them to be answered but we must remain patient and steadfast in our belief that the Lord will grant us what we truly need. Next time you find yourself losing hope that the Lord will answer your prayers, perhaps a little grumbling might be in order. Reach out to the Almighty so that He may reassure you of his power and love