By Isaac Doucette
On March 13 the seminarians at Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois, were sent home to finish the semester via “e-learning” in the interest of the care of souls and proactive health safety. As I drove home, my anticipation of being back in the Diocese of Davenport began to rise. Crossing the mighty Mississippi River, I felt a surge of joy to be back in the diocese. I reflected on the Gospel for the Third Sunday of Lent, John 4:5-42, and what it has to say regarding the current health situation. In the Gospel, which tells the story of the woman at the well, we see how deeply and uniquely God loves us.
The Samaritan woman goes to the well at noon because she knows that few people will be around. Her past sins might be the source of ridicule by other members of the town or she might feel shame for them. Jesus is gentle towards her and calls her out of her sin. Emboldened by Jesus’ love for her, she witnesses to the townspeople who may have been talking behind her back. This requires great courage and a deep sense of God’s love.
The living water that is God’s love fills the deep well of our hearts. We have to let go of our doubts, fears, anxieties and past wounds to make room for the living water. God’s love transforms wounds, satisfies desires, dismisses doubts, smashes fears, calms anxieties and overflows our hearts with peace and joy that only he can bring. Jesus Christ the Divine Physician heals us body, mind and soul. He gives our life direction and meaning with his living water.
With the stress, anxiety, doubts, uncertainties and fears that surround the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there is an understandable temptation to despair. However, Christ’s love brings us hope and courage just like it did for the Samaritan woman. This Gospel reminds us of the depth of God’s love for us. It shows us that the power of his love is greater than anything in this world including the coronavirus. It is necessary to take prudent precautions to protect our health. Likewise, it is necessary to pray and tell God what is on our mind and in our heart.
Prayer shows our symptoms and wounds to the Divine Physician so he can heal them and transform them. Instead of living in our wounds, we live freely and securely out of his wounds. Living out of his wounds allows the love of Jesus to overflow to others through our prayers and charitable actions. During this time, charitable actions can be reading the Bible or a spiritual book to deepen our love of Jesus, spending time with Jesus in prayer, praying for others or calling friends and family to see how they are doing. This is the living water Jesus gives us and asks us to give others. May we allow this living water to bring peace and healing to each of us.
(Isaac Doucette is a first-year theology student at the University of St. Mary of the Lake Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois.)