Third Sunday of Lent
Source of Living Water
First Reading : ( Ex 17:3-7 ) : Moses
struck the rock and water came out
Second Reading : ( Rom 5:1-2,5-8 ) : By faith in Christ we are reconciled
Gospel : (Jn 4:5-26,39-42 ) : Jesus talked to the Samaritan woman about
living water .
-“The square pond of half a mou opens up like a mirror. Sky light and
shadows of clouds move together to and fro. Let us ask: How can it be
so crystal? Because there is living water coming from the fountainhead.”
-“Not studying for a day, my speech becomes dull; Not studying for three
days, my looks become repulsive.(2)
-“Listening to you for a few hours, far exceeds studying for ten years.”
Today's reading is about living water.
Once when Jesus was tired from a long journey, he came to a place where
the Samaritans lived (Samaritans were regarded as pagans and looked
down upon by the Jews). A Samaritan woman came to the well to draw water
and Jesus asked her for a drink. The woman thought this was strange,
why would a Jew ask a Samaritan woman for a drink? Jesus then started
a discussion with the woman about the meaning of living water.
Jesus said: ‘Everyone who drinks of this
water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I
will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will
become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’
Jesus then started to discuss with the woman about where we should
worship God. The woman said to Jesus, “Your ancestors said all must
worship God in Jerusalem, but our ancestors said we should worship on
Jesus' answer was simple and direct: ‘Woman,
believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither
on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. The true worshippers will worship
the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to
worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in
spirit and truth.’ (Ref Jn 4: 5-26, 39-42)
These are very famous words. God is not within a church's four walls,
nor is God limited to within the confines of the Catholic or Christian
religions. God is spirit, Supreme Lord who is everywhere. God has neither
beginning nor end, God is beyond the limitation of space and time. One
must worship God in spirit and in truth.
While Jesus was talking with the woman, the disciples returned with
food, but Jesus said he was not hungry. His food was to carry out his
Father's will and complete the work God had given him to do. His food
was to be able to discuss this important issue of life.
The mention of “living water” in today's reading reminds me of a poem
about living water written by Zhu Xi of the Sung Dynasty called “Feelings
Arising from Reading Books.” It is about his feelings and emotions when
Outside Zhu Xi's study was a little pond which was so clear that it
could reflect the clouds in the sky. It was a beautiful scene that inspired
Zhu Xi to write this poem: “The square pond of half a mou opens up like
a mirror. Sky light and shadows of clouds move together to and fro.
Let us ask: How can it be so crystal clear? Because there is living
water coming from the fountainhead.”(1)
The meaning was that though the pond was a small one,
no bigger than half a mou, it was as calm and as clear as a mirror.
The clouds in the sky were reflected in it and seemed to be dancing.
If one were to ask why the water could be so crystal clear, it was because
there was a fountainhead from where fresh water flowed incessantly.
Zhu Xi thought that a book was living water and the source of living
water. That was why the ancient sages said, “Not studying for a day,
my speech becomes dull; Not studying for three days, my looks become
We humans must study continuously before we can have new ideas, new
vitality and new inspirations. Without books, life itself becomes dry
and dull. Therefore, books become our living water, the “health products”
which cause us to shine and radiate.
There are three levels of meaning about living water in today's reading:
First, Christ himself is living water. He is the source of life and
if we can enter into his heart, we will be as if immersed in a stream
of living water, like being in the midst of an ocean.
Second, Christ's teaching is living water. His words point us in a
direction that helps us in life so that we can see how to walk on our
life's journey. He said: ‘I am the way,
and the truth, and the life.’ His teaching can enlighten
our lives and his words become the living water of life.
Third, Jesus' example is also living water. He not only told us the
way, he carried it out himself, He let us see how we can live according
to God's will. He not only pointed this out, he guides us himself.
Let us today draw near to Christ, approach the living water, and allow
Christ to enter into our lives and we ourselves enter into Christ's
life. We must drink of the living water that is Christ so that we will
never thirst again. Let this living water flow out from our lives and
Let us hope that hereafter when we Christians interact with others,
our words and actions will nourish other peoples' lives and slake their
thirst. May people feel that “Listening to you for a few hours, far
exceeds studying for ten years.”(3)