Moved to Greater Love
Moved to Greater Love

Sunday, March 23

For the past two weeks, we have been praying for and about gratitude. It is the fuel in the engine of our discipleship. We now turn to the pursuit of spiritual freedom. We reflect on our spiritual, emotional and psychological hang-ups, offering them to God so that God can purify and sanctify us once again.

If we ask for it, God will turn our gratitude into great desires for praise, reverence and service, and those desires will give us the strength we need to hold all of our gifts and resources lightly, ready to use them or let them go depending on whether they help or hinder our discipleship. Gradually, incrementally, we let go of all of our attachments and cling only to our Savior. We become spiritually free.

Today’s Grace

I pray for the grace to let God tell me who I am, what I have received and what I am still thirsting for.


Reading via the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website:

Jn 4:5-42
Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there.
Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.
It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her,
“Give me a drink.”
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him,
“How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—
Jesus answered and said to her,
“If you knew the gift of God
and who 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 do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep;
where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob,
who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself
with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her,
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;
but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst;
the water I shall give will become in him
a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, give me this water, so that I may not 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 and said to him,
“I do not have a husband.”
Jesus answered her,
“You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a 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 can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain;
but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus said to her,
“Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand;
we worship what we understand,
because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here,
when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth;
and indeed the Father seeks such people 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 the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ;
when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her,
“I am he, the one speaking with you.”

At that moment his disciples returned,
and were amazed that he was talking with a woman,
but still no one said, “What are you looking for?”
or “Why are you talking with her?”
The woman left her water jar
and went into the town and said to the people,
“Come see a man who told me everything I have done.
Could he possibly be the Christ?”
They went out of the town and came to him.
Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.”
But he said to them,
“I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
So the disciples said to one another,
“Could someone have brought him something to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“My food is to do the will of the one who sent me
and to finish his work.
Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here’?
I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest.
The reaper is already receiving payment
and gathering crops for eternal life,
so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together.
For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows and another reaps.’
I sent you to reap what you have not worked for;
others have done the work,
and you are sharing the fruits of their work.”

Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him
because of the word of the woman who testified,
“He told me everything I have done.”
When the Samaritans came to him,
they invited him to stay with them;
and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word,
and they said to the woman,
“We no longer believe because of your word;
for we have heard for ourselves,
and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”

Reflection Questions

Such an ordinary encounter — with such extraordinary consequences. A woman goes to a well to draw water. Someone notices her — and makes the first move. “Give me a drink,” he says, as if to reveal his own thirst (for her? for us?). “If you only knew what God gives…” he later tells her — perhaps as a reminder that this is a giving God so that by his gifts we can come to know the Giver. How could she have known? With five husbands (symbolizing, perhaps, all that she had sought fulfillment from) and an insular mindset (“Are you greater than our father Jacob?”) her life was much too self-absorbed to see WHO was before her. Still, this being the Gospel of John, the one who has broken down the barrier between God and man now breaks down the human barriers of ethnicity, gender and religion, and, yes, self-absorption too. She wants his “living water”; he wants not just to give her water but to be the spring of living water welling within her. A back-and-forth ensues and something gives. She leaves her water pitcher behind and begins to testify to him. She recognized him only to the extent that she allowed herself to be transformed by him — into a wellspring of his Word.

  1. When and how has God made the first move toward you, your institution, your community?
  2. What are the gifts God has been giving you so that you can know him?
  3. Who or what are your “five husbands”? What are you so wedded to that you simply cannot see beyond?
  4. Who or what are you still most thirsty for?
  5. What is the “water pitcher” you need to leave behind to begin testifying to God’s presence welling within you?


“Christ and the Woman of Samaria” by Horace Pippin, 1940

Image via

Other Resources

View the daily readings at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website.

The Well
by Karol Wojtyla

It joined us together, the well;
the well led me into you
No one between us but light
deep in the well, the pupil of the eye
set in an orbit of stones.
Within your eyes, I,
drawn by the well,
am enclosed.

The Gift
by R.S. Thomas

Some ask the world
and are diminished
in the receiving
of it. You gave me
only this small pool
that the more I drink
from, the more overflows
me with sourceless light.

Quotation from C.S. Lewis’ “A Slip of the Tongue:”
Does it matter to a man dying in the desert, by which choice of route he missed the only well?

Music: “O Come Everyone That Thirsteth” from Mendelssohn’s “Elijah”

Song: “Bread and Water” by Vince Gill

Song: “The Well” by The Casting Crowns

Music: “Piya Ho,” from the movie “Water,” a hauntingly beautiful song with themes of love and thirst. (lyrics)

Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America 2/18/19

America 2/4/19

America 1/21/19

Manresa House of Retreats
Manresa House of Retreats is located on the banks of the Mississippi River in Convent, La., midway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.