Believers around the world will celebrate the third Sunday of Lent on March 12, 2023.
The third Sunday of Lent provides an opportunity to reflect on spiritual hunger and thirst — and remind us that God will provide us with everything we need, a Baltimore priest told Fox News Digital.
“Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well shows what an unlikely character the holy vessel would be to bring the extinguished Good News to the people of Samaria,” said Fr Leo Patalinghug, priest of the Voluntas Dei (The Will of God) Institute. .
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In addition to his priestly ministry, Patalinghug is the author of the book, “Dining with the Saints: The Sinner’s Guide to a Righteous Feast.”
He is the founder of the international food and faith movement called Plating Grace and is the host of “Savoring our Faith,” a food and faith show on the Catholic television network EWTN.
The conserving nature of water is a recurring theme throughout the Bible, beginning with the Book of Genesis, Patalinghug explained.
“Before God made Adam and Eve, God created food – especially water,” he said. “This tells us that God always planned to provide for all of his creation.”
The human body is 60 percent water, Patalinghug said, noting that a person cannot survive for more than three days without water.
“We need water to soften our hearts. But we must believe that God will provide that water.”
“For the newly exiled Jews who wandered with Moses in the desert for 40 years, he regularly complained that they had no water,” he said.
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And while they complained of thirst, their complaints “were not just about finding water – it was about losing the confidence that God would provide for them.”
He continued, “The Jews complained, but Moses prayed and God would quench their thirst by doing the impossible: bringing water from the rock.”
The rock, Patalinghug said, “represents the hardness of our hearts.”
He continued, “We need water to soften our hearts. But we must trust that God will provide that water.”
He added, “God made water necessary for salvation. The “waters of baptism” are the first sacrament that initiates someone into the life of Christ.”
The Biblical story of the Samaritan woman at the well is another story of how water can be saved, Patalinghug noted.
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“Jesus said to her: Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never thirst. The water that I will give will become in them a fountain of water springing up into eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Lord, give me this water, so that I may never thirst or keep coming here to draw water'” (John 4:13-15).
The exchange at the well has a deeper meaning than the water, the priest said.
“Remember, the Jews despised the Samaritans and vice versa,” he said.
The woman at the well “was also a woman of ill repute, so she went to the well at the most inconvenient time—in the middle of the day when it was hottest.”
By going to the well at an informal hour, the woman “probably wanted to avoid gossip being spread about her, the way people gossip around the water cooler,” Patalinghug said.
“Now, our job is to do what the woman at the well did.”
“But she went to the well, out of human necessity, and by God’s providence she would meet Jesus — who would touch her heart as Moses touched the rock.”
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Although her exchange with Christ was “salty,” Jesus could “see that she really thirsted for something that only God’s love could provide,” he said.
“Jesus used the human need for water to quench her almost forgotten spiritual need for forgiveness and purpose,” Patalinghug said.
During the season of Lent, people should also take time to “discern what we hunger and what we thirst [for]and where do we go to be satisfied,” he said.
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“Jesus speaks to us, unlikely saints in creation, touching our hearts with his words and drawing the life-giving waters from our stony hearts,” Patalinghug also said.
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“Now, our job is to do what the woman at the well did,” he said.
“He carried the message of faith – the living waters – to others, that they might taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”