Living Water Sinks Deep
I had the privilege of a visit to Jacob's well during a pilgrimage to Israel in January 2012. It is the sight of the revered Jacob's well where Jesus engaged the Samaritan woman in a conversation as recorded in John 4, the gospel reading for this third Sunday of Lent. It did not strike me as particularly astonishing because it was similar in appearance to the water well I drew water from as a kid during visits to my grandfather's country home in Nigeria. What was amazing about the place, however, is the conversation that took place between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. To step into the same space where the grace of salvation was revealed to a wounded and wanting sinful soul is amazing.
Though the water well of Samaria was not that deep, the words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman was very deep and sank deep into her soul. Jesus' living words are rich in symbols and convey multiple meanings that the sinful Samaritan woman took in her strides. That Jesus, a Jewish prophet, requested a drink of water from a Samaritan woman was enough reason to shock this woman, but she was willing to cooperate with the movement of grace set in motion by Jesus. In her open conversation with Jesus, he revealed that she'd been married to five different husbands, and the sixth one she currently lives with is not her husband. This revelation has deep meanings. She's been seeking satisfaction for her inner longings in the wrong places and things represented by the six different men she's had liaisons with. Six being a symbol of imperfection in the bible, she now meets the perfect seventh man in Jesus who happens to be the actual one she's been thirsting and longing for. Jesus is the symbolic and spiritual, perfect husband she needs to marry to get true and deep satisfaction her heart longs for.
The Samaritan woman stands for all of us the Church, the spouse of Christ. In baptism, we received Jesus into our lives through the living water of baptism. The living water of baptism, "a spring of water welling up to eternal life" sinks deep into our soul to satisfy the natural thirst for the gift of eternal life. This weekend, two elects, Chad Shank and Lizbeth Gober, preparing to receive sacraments of Baptism, Holy Communion, and Confirmation at Easter Vigil, will undergo the first of three scrutinies to help them in the process of Purification and enlightenment. Like the Samaritan woman, they are getting their lifetime soul-thirst satisfied through their living encounter with Jesus. Let us, as a community, pray that like the Samaritan woman, they will receive "a spirit of repentance, a sense of sin, and the true freedom of the children of God."
I am delighted to announce that Mr. Shawn Marker has generously accepted the offer to be our new Parish Youth Minister! Mr. Marker is a parishioner already working with our parish youth in the youth choir and as coordinator of Steubenville retreat. He comes with us with a deep passion for Catholic faith and enthusiasm for getting the youth "program off the ground," to use his own words. I will be working with Mr. Marker to keep the Catholic faith of our parish youth alive.
I also want to announce that I have reconstituted the Parish Finance Council. Cindy Barr, Dave Dolan, and Rebecca Beck have accepted my requests to constitute the new Parish Finance Council. We are going to work as a team to chart a healthy path for our parish finance. I am thankful for their willingness to serve our parish despite their busy schedules.
In Christ, the Living Water,
Fr. Bernard Oniwe, OP