As we continue in the Lenten season, an image forms in our minds of a desert. Perhaps this is because we hear in the Scriptures that Christ fasted in the desert for forty days and forty nights, but I think the imagery goes deeper than this.
Think back to the Gospel reading from last Sunday where we see a Samaritan woman retrieving water from the well. Here is a woman who is so thirsty, but not necessarily thirsty for physical water. She is thirsty for healing, for hope, for truth, for love.
She has had one broken relationship after another and wants more than anything to be loved and accepted. Jesus engages this woman, doesn’t judge her or condemn her. But he invites her. He invites her into a relationship and says, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
All throughout Scripture the number seven is used to denote perfection. The Samaritan woman has had six husbands up to this point who have not given her the love she longs for and the love she deserves. Christ enters the scene as the perfect bridegroom to us all, offering a relationship that will truly satisfy. He says, “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Here is bridegroom number seven – perfectly fulfilling his promise of true love.
Now put yourself into this story. Ask yourself honestly how you will respond to this invitation from Christ. Will you try to hide the hurt in your life? Will you continue to draw water from a well that will never satisfy? Or will you humble yourself – like the Samaritan woman – and allow Christ to pour his life-giving water into your heart? Happy Lent!
Tommy Shultz is Diocesan Publication’s Solutions Evangelist. He is also a full time speaker who was most recently the Director of youth and young adult ministries for the Diocese of Baker, OR. As an experienced speaker on all things Catholic, he has addressed thousands of teens and young adults on topics such as the Sacraments, chastity, and boldly living the Catholic faith. He has given many talks and hosted retreats across the nation. Driven by his passion for Theology of the Body, Tommy studied at the Theology of the Body Institute and has spoken at numerous Theology of the Body conferences. From 2012-2013, he served as a missionary of purity, speaking to over 20 thousand youth about the message of purity across the state of Pennsylvania. He is also a founder of the Corpus Christi Theology of the Body campus organization at Franciscan University. To book Tommy for an event or for further information please visit www.tommy-shultz.com.