by Fr. Tommy Lane
In 1888 a man was shocked to read the notice of his own death in the newspaper. It was an error. However he was even more shocked to read that the newspaper described him as someone who found new ways to kill people and became rich from doing so. It was true; he invented dynamite. That morning he decided to change, to devote his energies in a new direction, to work for world peace. He left most of his estate after his death to fund the Nobel prizes. That man was Alfred Nobel.
Early in life, when he was working with dynamite, he was like the woman coming to the well to draw water. Water is necessary for life just as dynamite is necessary for some construction work. But at the well the woman met Jesus and he offered her living water. She was so impressed by Jesus that she left her water jar at the well and went back to the town to tell everyone that she thought she had met the Messiah. She had found the living water and forgot about the water from the well. Alfred Nobel must have had some similar experience the morning he read of his death in the newspaper. Until then he was going to the well to draw water but the false report of his death touched him deeply inside and he totally changed direction, from then on working for peace. In some kind of way he must have met Jesus at the well that morning offering him living water. He might not describe it in that way but deep within him it must have been something like that. He left the jar of weapons at the well and hurried back to the town to tell the townspeople to work for peace.
What about us? We too have to go to the well everyday with our jar because we live in the world. But Jesus makes the same offer to us as he did to the woman at the well:
Whoever drinks this water will get thirsty again;
But anyone who drinks the water that I shall give
will never be thirsty again:
The water that I shall give
will turn into a spring inside welling up to eternal life.
Each of us has the choice to draw water only from the well every day or to also accept the living water that Jesus offers us. What is this living water? Put simply we could describe this living water that Jesus offers us as the love of God. If we don’t receive this living water from Jesus every day, we will look for satisfaction in ways that will never please. No wonder the woman at the well was now in her sixth marriage! What is the driving force of your life at the moment? Are you all wound up in something that is not the love of God and not preparing you for heaven and not bringing you real deep lasting happiness or are you drinking the living water of Jesus every day?
How can we receive this living water so that we will never be thirsty again? If we are not drinking the living water of Jesus every day surely the first step is to admit that we need this living water that Jesus is offering us. Nothing will ever change if we continue to deny we need the living water of Jesus. Then we can turn to Jesus for his living water. How can we receive this living water from Jesus? In my own case I receive this living water from Jesus by praying every day and reading the Bible every day. Because I receive living water from praying and reading the Bible every day I often remind you of the importance of prayer. I believe that praying is the best way for everyone to receive this living water. Every time we receive Jesus in Holy Communion we are drinking his living water. Every time we turn to Jesus for mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation we receive living water from Jesus. This time of Lent is a special season of grace in the Church each year to enable us to drink more and more of this living water that Jesus offers us. Don’t waste Lent so that God is forced to communicate with us in some unexpected way as happened to Alfred Nobel. Instead let us profit from Lent to drink living water from Jesus.
Whoever drinks the water from the well will get
But anyone who drinks the living water that Jesus gives
Will never be thirsty again:
The water that Jesus gives
Will turn into a spring inside welling up to eternal life.
Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2013
More homilies for the Third Sunday of Lent Year A
stories about conversion