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Delivering food, shelter, and hope to the poorest of the poor
In the third reading from the third Sunday of Lent, Jesus talks to the Samaritan woman at a well and asks her to draw water for him. In doing that, Jesus knew the woman actually needed much more than physical water; she needed living water to satisfy her thirsty soul. He told her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14).
Cross Catholic Outreach’s ministry partners in Ghana, Malawi and Zambia also believe providing clean water to families is only part of their mission to bless lives. For a true life transformation to take place, families must be given the opportunity to drink the living water of Christ.
Your support of this Lenten Outreach will deliver clean water through hand pump wells like this one.
Some of the spiritual blessings this outreach provides come from a very practical benefit of the water project — the time it saves families. When a reliable source of water is close at hand, families no longer spend hours collecting water and can use that extra time for meaningful activities such as Mass and family prayer. With improved access to water, many communities also see a significant increase in parish participation. The gift of water restores time and hope, reminding families that God loves them and hears their prayers!
John 4:5-45 (NRSVCE)
So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.
A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “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.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!” The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”
Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” They left the city and were on their way to him.
Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest’? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving[e] wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.”
So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”
When the two days were over, he went from that place to Galilee (for Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in the prophet’s own country). When he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the festival; for they too had gone to the festival.
As a reminder of the water crisis people around the world are facing, fill up a clear bottle with water. Add in some dirt, grass clippings, rocks, and even small pieces of trash. Shake or stir the debris in the water. Place this murky mixture in a spot where you can see it every day. During the rest of your Lenten journey, take a daily look at the dirty water, say a prayer for people who don’t have clean water to drink and put a coin in your collection cup.
What is the global water crisis? It is the state of emergency that exists when families must struggle to survive because they do not have easy access to an essential of life — clean, safe water.
The World Health Organization reports that about 2.2 billion people are living without clean, protected, readily available water at home. Of those, about 785 million do not even have basic water services (meaning they cannot collect safe water within 30 minutes or less), and another 144 million are drinking untreated surface water.
1. What do you think about what Jesus said to the Samaritan women in John 4? Why is it important to meet physical and spiritual needs?
2. In the United States, most of us are blessed with plenty of clean water to drink. But what does it mean to be spiritually thirsty? How can you satisfy your spiritual thirst?
Dear God, we are grateful that you are the Living Water. I pray you would not only quench the thirst of our bodies but also satisfy the thirst of our souls. May we draw close to you and drink from the Well of Salvation, Jesus Christ, who gave himself up for us on the cross. Fill our hearts with your spirit so we can refresh the souls of others. In Christ’s name we pray, amen.
Proceeds from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2023, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.