VATICAN CITY, 24 FEB 2008 (VIS) – At midday today, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study overlooking St. Peter’s Square, to pray the Angelus with thousands of faithful gathered below.
On this third Sunday of Lent, said the Holy Father, “the liturgy presents us with one of the most beautiful and profound texts of the Bible: the dialogue between Jesus and the Samaritan woman”.
“Jesus spoke of ‘living water’ capable of quenching thirst and of becoming, in her, a spring ‘gushing up to eternal life’. He also showed that He knew details of her personal life and revealed that the hour had come to worship the one true God in spirit and in truth. Finally – something very rare – He confided to her that He was the Messiah”.
“The theme of thirst runs throughout the Gospel of John”, said the Pope, “from the meeting with the Samaritan woman to the great prophecy during the Festival of Booths, and even unto the Cross when, in order to fulfil Scripture, Jesus said before dying ‘I am thirsty’. … Yes, God thirsts for our faith and our love. Like a good and merciful father He desires all possible good for us, and this good is He Himself.
“The woman of Samaria”, he added, “represents the existential dissatisfaction of people who have not found what they were seeking. She had had ‘five husbands’ and was living with another man. Her coming and going to the well to draw water was an expression of a repetitive and resigned existence, but that day everything changed for her thanks to her meeting with the Lord Jesus Who affected her so deeply that she abandoned the water jar and ran to tell the people in the village: ‘Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done!” He cannot be the Messiah, can he?'”
Benedict XVI invited the faithful to open their hearts “to a trusting perception of the Word of God so that, like the Samaritan woman, we may meet Jesus Who reveals His love to us and says: the Messiah is your Saviour, ‘I am he, the one who is speaking to you’. May Mary, the first and perfect disciple of the Word made flesh, obtain this gift for us”.
Following the Angelus, the Pope referred to “recent floods that have devastated extensive coastal areas of Ecuador, causing terrible damage to add to that already caused by the eruption of the Tungurahua volcano. Entrusting the victims of this calamity to the Lord, I express my personal closeness to those experiencing moments of anguish and tribulation and I invite everyone to show fraternal solidarity so that the people of these areas may, as soon a possible, return to the normality of everyday life”.