Homily for the Third Sunday of Lent March 12, 2023

    Are you completely satisfied?

A young woman was asked by a teacher from her church to tutor a young boy while he was in the hospital. The woman didn’t realize until she got to the hospital that the boy was in the burn unit, in considerable pain and barely able to respond. She tried to tutor him, stumbling through the English lesson, ashamed at putting him through such a senseless exercise.


The next day, when she returned to the hospital, a nurse asked her, “What did you do to that boy?” Before she could finish apologizing, the nurse interrupted her: “You don’t understand. His entire attitude has changed. It’s as though he’s decided to live!”


A few weeks later the boy explained that he had completely given up hope until this young woman arrived. With joyful tears he explained, “They wouldn’t send a tutor to work on nouns and verbs with a dying boy, would they?”


In our gospel reading Jesus enters into a conversation with a woman who has been burned by life. The first clue is that she comes to draw water all by herself at the wrong time of the day, at noon, when the sun is at its hottest. All the other woman would have come at first light when it was cooler. Then we learn about her marital history, which explains why she is alone—probably shunned by her more upright neighbors. And then, when the disciples return, we learn of their shock that Jesus, in an unsupervised situation is talking to a woman, and a Samaritan woman that they would have automatically looked down upon.


But Jesus chooses this woman, burned by life, not to teach her about nouns and verbs, but that she is still a child of God who is infinitely loved. She discovers that she still has a life worth living, a life that satisfies her deep thirst for companionship and community, because her life is rooted in a love that completely satisfies. Not only will she no longer thirst because in Jesus she has found her deepest desire fulfilled, she immediately runs off to share the good news. While the Apostles are standing there scratching their heads, wondering what’s going on, she’s off evangelizing the whole town.


Have you been watered? I mean, have you been baptized? Really baptized? Baptized to the extent that you have what she found that day at the well?  We can search, and look, and wander all over the place, and still be thirsty—all because we are made for God, and our hearts will be forever restless until they rest in God.


So that’s the question for this week: Have you been properly watered? Have you really been baptized? Have you given your heart to God?