When Jesus is dying on the cross, we hear Him cry “I thirst.” Today we see in the Gospel what Jesus really means when he says that. Let’s allow the Catechism of the Catholic Church help us to explain this: 2560 "If you knew the gift of God!" The wonder of prayer is revealed beside the well where we come seeking water: there, Christ comes to meet every human being. It is he who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts; his asking arises from the depths of God's desire for us. Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God's thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him.
Today we see the dramatic encounter of those two thirsts. Humanity, like the woman at the well who has known six men, is parched, is thirsting for something that will fill that infinite hole in her heart and soul. It’s no surprise that finite things, even human persons, could never fill that longing, that thirst. And if we can muster up the courage to stop, to listen, to face our own hearts, then we will find that we have done the same. We have run from God in our search for water, for something to fill our thirst. But Lent is wake-up call for us to see that we are not alone, that God is not hiding, but is rather waiting and longing (even more that we are) for us to find Him. But we have to let Him in, past the barriers, past the traps of our enemy: traps like fear; like unforgiveness; like hardness of heart because we don’t want to be hurt again; like hyperactivity; like pretending we don’t hear our hungers. When we let down our guard, if we let Jesus past those barriers, then we will find something that the world cannot take away: a peace that comes from knowing we are loved and held.
Saint Teresa of Kolkata, known more popularly as Mother Teresa, began her new life, her “call within a call” to reach out to the poorest of the poor after she had a profound experience on a train ride. That experience was in fact a deep awareness of the words from Christ’s Cross: I Thirst. You may have heard that every house of her Missionaries of Charity would contain these words under the crucifix in the chapel. These words were the mission that the sisters were sent to fulfill: they were to find Jesus thirsting in the poor, and love Him through them, satisfying at the same time both the deepest thirst that God has, and the deepest thirst of humanity: to love and to be loved.
And that, my friends, is discipleship in a nutshell. That is what Christianity is all about. Saint Paul summarizes it clearly: “The Love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” And this gift is not meant to be hoarded to ourselves; if so, it becomes sour. Rather it is meant to be shared, like Saint Teresa shared it, with the world, starting with those who are right in front of you.
Jesus, help us to hear our thirst, to let you quench it, and to share your love with others who need it.