Can you remember how refreshing a nice glass of cold water tastes on a hot summer day? Think about for a second. It’s nice and cold and it is so refreshing. It really perks you up.
In Toronto we take water for granted. Lake Ontario is part of the greatest fresh water systems on Earth. The peoples of our First Nations called the Great Lakes the Sweet Water Seas.
Hopefully we are pained by the news reports of thousands of men, women and children from different countries displaced by ravaging droughts destroying their food supplies and their herds of goats and sheep. We see them in the thousands pouring into refugee centers in order to survive.
Today’s gospel tells us of the story of the woman at a well and her encounter with Jesus. In the towns of that time there were two important places: the market place and the community well. The men got together in the market place and gossiped about town politics. The woman went to the common well twice a day and gossiped about their husbands. The well was far more important than the market place. A dry well meant no water, no water meant no town.
In their conversation Jesus, who was at the mercy of this woman because, as she tells him the well is deep and he has no bucket. Jesus confuses her by telling what she already knows, ‘whoever drinks of this water will be thirsty again.’ Jesus promises her water that will quench her thirst forever. Jesus promises water that gushes up to eternal life, a water that does away thirst forever. Sir give me this water.
Hopefully we all thirst for a deeper relationship with God. Our relationship, our bonding with God begins with water, the water of baptism. Blessed with this water we come to life with God and begin the life long process of growing in the likeness of Christ, God’s Son, so that God can look at each one of us and say, ‘this is my beloved son, my beloved daughter, in whom I am well pleased.’ That’s why we might pray every day the prayer of the woman at the well, ‘sir give me this water’ so I may grow into a deeper relationship with God as God shares His life with me. That’s why we pray, give us this day our daily bread, Christ our bread of life who strengthens and nourishes our relationship, our bonding with God.
Hopefully we all have a thirst for God and for God’s refreshing life and love for us. But do we ever think about God’s thirst for us? Do we ever give a thought about God’s eternal thirst for our faith, our trust, our love? God’s thirst for us is the central mystery of our relationship with God. Christ’s call from his cross, ‘I thirst’ expresses in human words God’s eternal thirst for our love in return for God’s for each of us. God loves us with an everlasting love and thirsts for our love in return.
Are we willing to quench God’s thirst, Christ’s thirst for us by living as best we can the way Christ taught us to live by his words and example? Are we willing to quench God’s thirst, Christ’s thirst by a cup of cold water, a cup of kindness to those who have wronged us, a cup of cold water that brings us closer to those we love, a cup of cold water offered to a stranger, a cup of cold water that refreshes those who feel unwanted, unloved, a cup of cold water to the homeless and unemployed, a cup of cold water to a friend living with the hurt and the loneliness of separation and divorce, a cup of cold water to a family member or friend in a nursing or retirement home, a cup of cold water of welcome to the refugees who come to our land?
As one spiritual writer wrote; our thirst for God is insatiable. But that is only half the story. More vast than the furthest reach of our hunger and thirst to be known and loved is the God who longs to be our bread of life, our living water. Are we willing to quench the thirst of God?