Channels of Mercy

by Fr. Ed Liptak, SDB

The Prayers and Scriptures start this 3rd Week of Lent emphasizing God as Author of Mercy. He is the source of ‘every mercy and all goodness.’ He teaches us that our Lenten efforts to keep him in our lives are a great help to us, for even should we be weak and in need of forgiveness, he does forgive and can raise us up by his mercy. In that we trust! 

On this Third Sunday of Lent the image of water, symbol of Baptism, appears in the Scriptures. In the Christian world, people prepare for entry into new life through Baptismal water. The Jewish people wandering toward the promised land longed for water. They quarreled with God. Moses too, impatiently struck the rock where God stood ready to grant them their wish. God was not very pleased. The name of that place, Massah, went down in their history and prayer life in self-awareness of their stubbornness. (See our Psalm 95 of today). 

St. Paul is aware of our stubbornness like that of our Jewish ancestors. God has loved us so much, “that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Our relationship with God through faith in Jesus, is what gives us peace and the hope of being with God in eternal life. We were ‘ungodly,’ we were ‘stiff-necked,’ yet God has drawn us to himself through Jesus and his Cross. It is our job now to let him.

Yes, Lord God, “You are the Savior of the world; give me living water that I may never thirst again.” God is always ready at his end of the agreement with humanity, must I ever be weak?

The Gospel at Jacob’s well in Samaria captures the touching story of a woman ‘taken in sin’ who meets Jesus. The merciful Lord should not even be talking to her,  an ‘enemy,’ a Samaritan woman. Worse! She has real marriage problems. She lives with a man who is not her husband, though she has made many tries. Jesus tells her all about it, yet he promises her ‘living water.’ The water of the well is still, the water which Jesus promises is the flow of Godly life which will stream upon her in the grace of faith and forgiveness. In fact, she is the first to recognize him as the Messiah. She is not an Apostle, but she spreads the name of Jesus far and wide. 

Save us, Jesus. Let this be the hour when you give us faith to abandon sin and truly worship God.