Third Sunday of Lent


Exodus 17:3-7
Romans 5:1-2, 5-8
John 4:5-42


The Lord told Moses to strike the rock for water to flow, and it overflowed with all the water the people needed in their thirst, a gift from the Lord.

And St John tells the story of the woman at the well, and what happened when Jesus asked her for a drink.

An Orthodox priest hauled up water from that very same well for me to drink. Yes the well was deep. The water was cool and crystal clear. I drank, and I shall not forget.

We focus on water because water is the most precious thing on this earth. Water sustains life, and is a beautiful symbol of the life that God pours into our hearts.

For Jacob, who dug the well, water was life. He drank, along with his people and his flocks. Without the well, without water, life was not possible in that place.

I was born on Ngarkat land in South Australia, traditional home to the incredible Ngarkat people. Their survival in the semi-desert mallee region depended largely on a few small water holes, some more than a day’s walk from the next. In drought years, the water holes failed, and, facing death, they were granted limited access to the River Murray by one of the river nations. They knew that water is life.

And we know that living water is life on a new level. On the cross, Jesus cried out, ”I thirst!” Even in our deepest need, we understand that thanks to him, the life we yearn for is not only in the water from any well or water hole but in himself, the living water that comes from above. This is the precious life of the spirit that binds us together in a love that inspires us to overcome the things that hurt and harm.

Let’s move along in the joy of living water. Jesus empowers us to let the gift of God’s love radiate to the world, to every creature. And do cherish the water.

Jeff Foale is an Australian Passionist living in Vietnam, a former New Guinea missionary with a passion for service of the poor and refugees and who loves life in all its forms and enjoys photography.