February 10, 2014

Jesus Is the Living Water

We've just been through a spell during which, due to a widespread power outage from a winter storm, we were without electricity for a few days.  After pondering our (comparatively minor) difficulties, it was clear to me:

Electricity wasn't the problem -- we had daylight all day, and candles, flashlights, and lanterns all night.

Heat wasn't the problem -- we had two woodstoves within four fireplaces and cords of seasoned wood stacked up.

Modern technological connectivity wasn't the problem -- we had chargers for all our devices that could be re-charged in our vehicles.

Food preservation wasn't the problem -- we had a small generator to periodically give our refrigerator/freezer a shot in the arm for continued freshness.

Water wasn't the problem -- we had fresh snow blanketing the ground, water bottles stored in the garage, and a lake on the other side of the woods.

However, running water was the problem.  You can only wash so many dirty dishes, dirty clothes, dirty shoes/boots, dirty rags, dirty cars, and dirty people in buckets of water before the bucket quickly becomes soiled and the water within it fouled.  I could see our accustomed level of sanitation rapidly deteriorating.

Running water was the problem.  Cool, clear, fresh, continuously flowing, running water.

In the Bible, Jesus speaks to the woman at the well and refers to Himself as the "living water":

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.” (John 4:10-15)

The woman didn't initially understand that Jesus Himself was the living water of which He spoke, the wellspring of eternal life.

No matter how many other things we are juggling in life, and no matter how well we think we are juggling them, eventually we will face a need for cool, clear, fresh, continuously flowing, running water.  Running water not only will cleanse whatever is dirty, but it will cleanse it continuously and repeatedly, as well as carry away all the dirt and grime.

Isn't Jesus just like this?

Isn't His Sacrament of Reconciliation (which Bishop Victor B. Galeone refers to as, "the Sacrament of Peace") just like this?

No matter what we are managing to multi-task in our own lives, we will need at some point (whether we initially are willing to admit it or not) to stop and turn to Jesus for a true, thorough, and complete cleansing.  Of our lives.  Of our souls.  Only He can provide the endlessly fresh deep cleaning that we need.  Continuously.  Repeatedly.  Honestly.  And thoroughly.  For free!

If you haven't been to Confession in a while, start thinking about it now.  Lent is coming next month (Ash Wednesday is March 4th), and it's the perfect time to renew our purification in Christ.  It's the perfect time to clean out the dirt, to "scrape off and fluff up" as my friend Alice likes to say.  Through the priest, Jesus Christ makes Himself available to YOU during the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to absolve you of your sins and, as he advised St. Mary Magdalene, to set your feet on a path toward Him to go and do this sin no more (cf. John 8:11).

We're never going to be perfect.  We're never going to be utterly, sparklingly, heavenly clean.  At least not here on Earth.  But in those few moments of Confession, the Lord will absolve you of your sins, wipe your earthly slate clean, and provide you with the graces you need to move forward in your life, beyond the weight and filth of whatever dirt your soul might be carting around.

So go.  Go.  Go to Confession!  Go!!!  I mean it.

Believe me.  There's absolutely nothing you can confess to the priest that he hasn't heard or heard of already.  He'll keep your secret, then let it go by handing it immediately over to God.

....and if you're still shy, pick a priest you've never met at a different parish and go screen.

But don't miss out.  Don't miss the gift, grace, and blessing of the true cleansing provided Jesus, the Living Water, every time you go to Confession.  Only He can fit your soul for heaven, and that's one power you don't want to be without!

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