Today’s readings repeatedly mention water. The angel and the prophet Ezekiel trace a miraculous flow from the temple threshold in Jerusalem as it deepens to become a refreshing river into the sea. Psalm 46 sings of the “stream whose runlets gladden the city of God.” And today’s Gospel describes the healing pools of Bethesda, inaccessible to an ill man whom the Lord admonishes to “rise, take up your mat, and walk.” “Water” is said to appear over 720 times in the Bible—more often than “faith,” “worship,” or “prayer.” Used often, perhaps, as a powerful metaphor for people living in the arid holy lands. Water both assures and unsettles. When used as a sacramental at Baptism, it opens our way to redemption. When a sea, its glistening surface delights us, its depths bring mystery and caution; and its storm-driven waters can terrify. Water’s precious moisture is essential for life; as tears, it expresses our sadness and our joy; without it, all becomes parched, brittle and eventually dust.
We are making our Lenten journey—little more than two weeks until Holy Thursday—moving from moments of darkness to light, from cold to warmth, and from thirst to refreshment. Streams and shorelines often define the pilgrims’ path. Faith motivates our journey; hope provides our walking stick; love, peace and justice is our sought reward.
Lord Jesus, You are guide and companion throughout our journey. Lead us to follow the water, drink from it, bathe in it, be guided by it—the stream whose runlets gladden the city of God.
Church Hindes, ’69, Member of the Worshipping Community
ScriptureFirst Reading: Ezekiel 47: 1-9, 12
Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9
Gospel: John 5:1-16
Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website