“Jesus as the Messiah From Which We Drink Living Water” by Fr. Efren Jimenez, OFM

Jesus declared, “if anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture says, out of his heart will flow a river of flowing water.” (John 7:37-38)

Our Country is so blessed with natural beauty, an archipelago of 7,107 Islands, vast oceans from all sides surround it – The Pacific Ocean, the China Sea, Sulu and Celebes seas. Land and water define the Filipino life. But it is a sad fact that greed and ignorance about the living earth resulted in excessive exploitation of natural resources – reminding how its destruction impacts on our lives. (Common to all the readings this Sunday of Lent is an affirmation of God’s benevolent care for those who place their well-being in God’s hand, that is, an affirmation of God’s unconditional love.)

An important symbol of God’s sustaining grace is the element of water. The symbolism of water is ambivalent in the Bible representing both evil and good (Jonah 2:3). We knew the story of the Israelites wandering through the desert, water was critical to their survival. But in the midst of this God was testing them. The dependence of the people on this element becomes a statement concerning their dependence on God, a malicious manner in which they obtain their water stands in the text as a commentary on human pride and arrogance.

The episode in the gospel points to the central role water brings to our longing for life’s fullness. In the context of Lenten struggle and longing for rebirth, we enter into the heart of the conversation between Jesus and the woman by the well. Undaunted Jesus greatly but firmly brings us to a deeper perception of life through a conversation about water.

1. He asks us to give him a drink but only as a lead-in to the central difficulty confronting us, to know Jesus as the Messiah from which we could drink living water.

In the water of Baptism, God uses the sacrament of water to wash away our sin, death, and power in our lives.

It is with deep mystery of faith to experience Jesus’ offering on the cross, where blood and water flows, for our salvation.

2. “I thirst ..!” one of the last words of Jesus on the cross, St. Paul gave a deeper explanation of these haunting words of Jesus: “Each of us is now as part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain his spirit – where we all come to drink.” 1 Cor. 12:13

We are reminded that each of us in our lives may have a dehydrated heart. In fact our maker wired us with thirst. Stop drinking and see what happens. Physical changes occur in our body – dry mouth, thick tongue, no moisture in the mouth, we can suffer delirium. Deprive your soul of spiritual water, and suffer the consequences. Confusion, waves of worry, instability of thoughts. Jesus declared, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture says, out of his heart will flow a river of flowing water .” (John 7:37-38)

This is a challenge for us to drink him often, all the time. Communicate with him, talk to him, listen to him as in this prayerful thought:

“I come thirsty for you, I received your redeeming love on the cross. My sins are pardoned, my death defeated. I received your energy, in the spirit who strengthened me. I received your Lordship, you are mine. St. Augustine reminded me: “My soul is restless, until it rest in thee.”

About Fr. EJ and his other reflections.