First reading: Exodus 17: 1-7
Psalm: Psalm 95
Second reading: Romans 5: 1-11
Gospel: John 4: 5-42
Link to readings.
Today we are invited to look deep within – to examine our hearts. Our hearts are divided when we sin. God forgives us and gives us a new heart. When we pray (particularly during Lent ) and recognise God’s goodness, we are drawn and empowered to show greater love.
I enter into my prayer gently, and with confidence, knowing that my Father is with me, looking on me with compassion.
I take time to look at the divisions within me. Despite my good intentions, I know that I sometimes fail to love. My desire to do good often evaporates in a cloud of selfishness.
I speak to my Father, the one who knows and loves me. I ask for the strength and courage to be honest with myself and with him. In what ways can I show your love to others Lord?
Where are the people in need of love in my home, in my street, at work, in my parish?
In your time, please show me Lord.
In the wilderness, the Israelites murmured against Moses because there was no food, and God fed them with manna. They now come to a place where there is no water and question God's goodness, even God’s presence. In turn, God causes water to spring from the rock to quench their thirst.
As I begin this time of prayer, I try to become still and centred in God’s presence. Slowly I read and re-read the passage, letting the word of God become rooted and planted in my heart, letting it water my roots.
I ponder the plight of the Israelites, who were ‘tormented by thirst’, and I think of the deserts of today’s world where people are thirsting in different ways. I bring these to God, confident that God can, and will, open fountains of living water where and when we least expect them.
Perhaps God is asking me to be a bearer of life-giving water to the people or situations in my world. I ponder this and when I am ready, I express to God whatever response arises in my heart.
The woman is hiding from others – she goes to the well alone when no one else would be there – from herself, from the truth about herself.
The woman is thirsting – for water – and also for meaning in her life. Jesus – hot, tired and thirsty – meets her; accepts her; patiently leads her to look at her real needs – her real thirst.
I ask to be led into the deeper meaning of this event as I slowly read the gospel, perhaps read it several times. As I try to imagine the scene (maybe at the end of a long day for me), I may identify with the feelings of tiredness and thirsting. I pay attention to the dialogue. What is the tone of Jesus’ voice? What awakens in me as Jesus looks at me and speaks to me in my tiredness, in my seeking or thirsting…What would I like him to offer me?
I wait before him – trusting.
Read next week's reflections here.
Reflections from www.pathwaystogod.org from the Jesuits in Britain.