Take that step to deepen your faith

By Pat Wettstein | For The Compass | March 16, 2017

The Living Rite column explores what you will see, hear, taste, touch or smell while at church this weekend.

“Boy, am I thirsty.”

How often have you heard that statement, especially in the middle of a hot, dry summer day? In this Sunday’s first reading, Moses confronted angry protests when the people grumbled that he had taken them into the hot, dry desert with no water to quench their thirst. In John’s Gospel, Jesus confronts a Samaritan woman at the well in the middle of the day, when it is most hot and uncomfortable. In both instances, the thirst was palpable and inescapable.

Thirst. This word holds several connotations. While Jesus initially addresses the physically, sustainable thirst, he also implies the soulful, spiritual thirst that not only confronts the Samaritan woman, but each of us. This thirst is what God calls us to, the need for more depth of faith, the need to find the water that will quench this insatiable yearning for more meaning to our lives. This is what the people in the desert were looking for, what the woman at the well needed: water pouring from the rock, cool water from the deep well.

During Lent, our parishes often have reminders of the desert in church: rocks or sand around the ambo or dead branches where there are normally flowers. These remind us of the 40 years in the desert and of Jesus’ 40 days in the desert. And, despite the arid reminders, we still have the consecrated wine, the blood of Christ, to quench our spiritual thirst.

Another way to quench spiritual thirst is to study the Word of God.

Does your parish offer Bible studies or other opportunities to further your desire to know more? If not, why not? And if you do have them available, are you taking that step to deepen your faith? Again, if not, why not?

God is always leading us, just as he led his people in the desert, although we many times slough it off, we resist. We resist because we fear water because it can drown and cannot fathom the water that can save and be life-giving for eternity.

Look around for the baptismal font this weekend. We are all given life-giving water at our baptism. It is a free gift, no questions asked, given because we are loved and not out of some deserving action on our part.

So what are you waiting for? If your parish is not currently offering additional learning opportunities, take advantage of what other parishes offer. Many times, your bulletin will highlight such opportunities.

Or maybe you could lead a group in your own parish. There are many approved, self-contained study courses for leading a study group. Many parishes have libraries that offer a variety of books for spiritual and inspirational nourishment. Or, just pick up the Bible and start to read. So the next time you feel that unquenchable thirst, satisfy it. Do not be afraid to take a step out of that hot, dry desert into that oasis of living water.

Wettstein is a volunteer choir director and former director of music and liturgy at Good Shepherd Parish, Chilton.

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