Thirsting for Life

John 4 is one of my favourite gospels. I love the feistiness of the Samaritan woman, the way in which she engages in dialogue with Jesus, neatly side-stepping some awkward questions but responding to him with generosity and increasing frankness until finally she can set off to tell everyone about him. There is such energy and vividness in the way in which the evangelist presents a quite complicated theological statement. One can have great fun tracing the significance of the five husbands, the five baals, and different elements of the story. Yet it was not this that made me think as I read the gospel at Vigils this morning but the simple fact of Jesus’ thirst.

The next time we shall hear of Jesus’ thirsting will be as he hangs on the Cross. Thirst is worse than hunger: a more insistent, more urgent need. The idea of God thirsting for our love so intensely that he is prepared to give the life of his Son is deeply shocking, enough, surely, to shock us out of our complacency. No? The sad fact is that we have heard the story so often, seen the image of the Crucified One so frequently, that we have become a little deadened to its impact. This morning’s gospel is all about life. Maybe we need to listen to it with fresh ears.

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2 thoughts on “Thirsting for Life”

  1. Like you, I very much like this gospel. But you have gone so much further in its understanding. Thank you for pointing out the thirst of Jesus, and the thirst of Godde for our love.
    You now make me wonder about the connection between the five husbands and the five baals…
    And our perception getting blunted by time.
    Thank you! I pray that today I may be fully awake.

  2. I think in general it is so profoundly important to force ourselves to see and feel things and beings we love in fresh and new ways. Our hearts and imaginations need all the help we can give them in this realm. Thank you both (so Claire B. as well) for the reminder.

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